If you dream about Grandma’s homemade pie or imagine yourself living in a 19th-century house with wicker rockers on the front porch, you’ll adore Kitchen at the Inn.
Because the little restaurant is tucked inside the Dovegate Inn, a cozy bed-and-breakfast, the atmosphere is exceptionally welcoming.
Past a garden of coneflowers and black-eyed Susans, and up the stairs of the porch of this Federalist-style home, diners enter a door marked “Restaurant” that opens into two parlor-type rooms with wood floors, a marble fireplace and white woodwork. Built in 1840, the Dovegate was once a private home along Broad Street, the main avenue of this history-laden Hudson River village.
The friendly server who greeted us was casually but neatly dressed in white shorts, and she alone took good care of us and about 15 other people.
While Hubby and I looked over the menu, including a handwritten page of specials, we ripped into warm, crusty balls of bread: our first hint that someone in the kitchen really knows how to bake.
We both ordered the day’s special appetizers: Honeydew-Cucumber Soup ($3.95) for me, a Cheese-Stuffed Cubano Chile ($7.95) for him.
Kitchen at the Inn
WHERE: 184 Broad St., Schuylerville, 695-6095, www.kitchenattheinn.com.
WHEN: 5-9 p.m. Wed.-Sun.; early bird from 4-5 p.m.; 5-9 p.m. Tues. during Saratoga racing season
HOW MUCH: $64.23 before tip
MORE INFO: Parking behind building. Visa, Discover, MasterCard and American Express. Reservations accepted.
These were much more exciting than your usual appetizers.
My pale green soup, cold and creamy, without detectable seasonings to detract from the main ingredients, was one of the best dishes I’ve eaten this summer.
Hubby’s tender-roasted pepper was nearly big enough to be an entrée. The filling, a ricotta-like cheese, perhaps queso fresco, oozed into a red mole sauce with just the right kick.
Salads were next, as they come with every entrée.
“We make all our own dressings,” our server told us.
The mix of greens, which looked fresh-picked, were topped with big globs of creamy tomato and blue cheese dressings.
With one server, the pace was somewhat slow, but we were relaxed by now and didn’t mind a bit.
While we waited, Hubby left his seat to look at a photograph, dated 1897, on the wall.
“It’s the town fathers, all the people who ran Schuylerville,” he reported.
When his Pork Paprikash ($19.95), another special, arrived, he couldn’t believe how large it was, and decided immediately to take half of it home.
Paprikash is a Hungarian dish in which a meat is browned in butter and smothered in a sauce of paprika, onions and sour cream.
“It’s delicious,” Hubby declared, and followed that exclamation with “extremely delicious” for the chunks of roasted red potatoes that came with it.
My choice, Crab-Stuffed Shrimp Scampi ($21.95), was the only disappointment of the evening.
The shrimp, five of them, were medium-sized, not jumbo and the crab was lost in scoops of boring bread stuffing, atop a ho-hum bed of rice.
This dish might be acceptable at a roadside diner, but didn’t measure up to the other creations we were enjoying.
Ah, but then came the dessert course.
The key lime pie ($5.50) was “Going-to-Grandma’s” good.
Graham cracker crumb crust, pale yellow tart-sweet filling and real whipped cream. But what was that other layer, that beige creamy fluff blanketing the entire wedge of pie?
“That’s strawberry mousse topping,” our waitress said.
Light as a cloud and not too sweet and like all the desserts, made right in their kitchen.
We agreed that we would return here.
“The food is very homey,” said Hubby.
In keeping with the homey feeling, the tables wear white cloths topped with brown paper, but a candle or some kind of small lamp on each table would be even nicer.
You can drink wine, beer or champagne splits here, but there is no bar, which makes it the perfect place to get away from the raucous racing crowd in Saratoga Springs.
Cara and Steve Clark, a married chef couple, have been running the restaurant for five years.
From 2001 to 2009, it was called Randy’s at the Dovegate and was operated by Randy Crocker.
Cara Clark, a Skidmore grad who was then known as Cara Fredricks, was the head chef at Randy’s before taking over the restaurant with her fiancé, now her husband. Before they came to Randy’s, the couple worked at the Springwater Inn in Saratoga Springs.
Reach Gazette reporter Karen Bjornland at 395-3197 or [email protected]
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