The Frugal Forager: Pam’s Pub provides memorable wings and burgers, but not salad

You may have noticed a wing-eating trend in this space. They don’t do too much damage if you order t

Pam’s Pub

WHERE: 1536 Crescent Road., Clifton Park. 373-4947

WHEN: 7 days, 11 a.m.-midnight

HOW MUCH: $40.25

MORE INFO: Master Card and VISA accepted

You may have noticed a wing-eating trend in this space. They don’t do too much damage if you order them with a big salad and let your husband eat half. It’s a compromise I can live with. So I was happy to see them touted on the cover of the menu at Pam’s Pub.

The restaurant is tucked into the corner of the strip mall next to a dog-centered business run by Shampoodle, with which they share a special relationship. You can park your doggie and go to the Pam’s for dinner and fetch him when you’re done (hopefully with leftovers). Then there is the additional bonus of watching the canines maneuver their humans in and out of the place. Mom had a good view of their entrance and it entertained her enormously throughout the meal.

Cozy quarters

Pam’s is small enough to be cozy, and their high tables are set far enough apart for ample elbow room. The space is dominated by the low bar, which even at this early hour was well-patronized, and the New York State Lottery, represented by a luminous vending machine and thick stacks of Quick Draw forms on every table.

A steady but quiet conversation could be heard over the music. Pam’s strikes the right note for folks who enjoyed the rock-and-roll era a few decades ago, an age I am familiar with.

Our server was doing double-duty at the bar and eventually made her way over to take our orders and answer our questions about things like the soup of the day. Although she was busy, she remembered that Mom didn’t want ice in her diet Coke and to put my salad dressing on the side.

The homemade beef and vegetable soup ($2.75) got them points for tender, tasty beef and an unexpected hot-sauce tang. It was full of vegetables: sliced carrots, celery, and potato (skin on), and peas. Mom said the small pieces of beef tasted like chuck, but the texture was pure rib-eye, fatty and soft. Nice job. I didn’t want to eat it all, so I just had half — but was sure to get all the meat.

The wings ($7 for ten) were indeed fabulous. The skin was thin and super-crisp, and they were big and meaty. We liked the medium sauce, which was just hot enough but had the requisite vinegar tang.

It was just as well I was getting full, because the Jack Daniel’s chicken salad ($8.75) wasn’t at its best that night. The chicken breast was grilled until mahogany, with the usual resulting texture. The greens needed to be checked more carefully. At home, more than once I found out too late that among the robust, clean-looking leaves were hiding small, dark, mushy bits of overdue lettuce. You can drive yourself crazy picking over small salad greens, but it’s better than discovering your salad has been compromised.

I never quite figured which of the two cups held the dressing until I asked the server when she cleared the plates. One had a pineapple flavor that, with a few tweaks, could be an inspired dressing. The thick one, which I took to be a sauce, turned out to be a mixture of Italian and Ranch dressings.

Super slider

Mom’s slider burger ($8.50) turned out to be terrific. Unlike the diminutive ones I’ve seen, this one is a half-pound of Angus beef seasoned with sauteed onions and topped with melted Swiss. It was high-cholesterol eye candy. The roll was hearty, and toasted as promised. She loved it, and the pile of fries on the side that were hot as could be.

Burgers and wings are why you go to a pub, and Pam’s does them marvelously. The salad, not so much. But that’s not why you’re there.

Our server was still doing double-duty but brought us boxes for leftovers, and the check in a timely fashion. The tab for the meal, with two sodas, tax, and tip came to $40.25. There are plenty of places to get wings, but get them at Pam’s, where they’re terrific, and you can support a locally owned business, too.

Categories: Food, Life and Arts

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