Saratoga Springs

Old-school Triangle Diner worth the wait

Irish Benedict was the right choice for two friends getting together
Irish eggs Benedict with homemade corned beef hash and homemade Hollandaise sauce at Triangle Diner.
Irish eggs Benedict with homemade corned beef hash and homemade Hollandaise sauce at Triangle Diner.

Don’t look online for the Triangle Diner’s website. They don’t advertise, either. But after almost 10 years, there’s still a line almost every day, said Laura Diggins, who owns the diner with her husband, Patrick. They must be doing something right.

And they are. The low-key, old-school diner on the point of land where Marion Avenue meets Maple, with booths and stools, is tiny, cozy, charming, warm. And the breakfast is out of this world.

The newspapers at the counter (thank you very much) and bowl of Halloween candy at the register make it feel homey. Now all you need is a seat.

As long as you expect to wait a bit, you won’t mind when you do, and no one will rush you out after you’re done with your meal.

So I met Karen, an occasional restaurant reviewer and wonderful writer, for lunch, and we waited for a table, just a few minutes. We had a lot of catching up to do and were given a small table at the back, elbow-to-elbow with our neighbors, Manhattan-style. Everyone was fine with it.

With all those folks eating, and working, the small building can get noisy, and we were so busy catching up on news and trying to hear each other that we waved the nice server away twice. Of course, she was fine with it.

So you won’t find the menu online, but it’s “basic diner food,” according to Diggins. Except at most diners you won’t find a section devoted to “Bennies,” eggs Benedict made so many ways, with real Hollandaise, rich and smooth.

It was lunchtime, but Karen was smart and ordered what the Triangle Diner is best at, breakfast. She got the Irish Benedict ($10.95) — two poached eggs on the requisite English muffin with homemade corned beef hash and Hollandaise sauce.

Karen knows from hash, having grown up with it, and she loved what the Triangle Diner does. “It’s mostly meat, extremely tender and has good corned-beef flavor,” she reported. I tried it too, and it was delicious. I’m used to seeing it with more potato; this version is better.

“The poached eggs are beautiful,” she said as she stabbed one and the silky yolk spilled out. “It’s got a nice skin but it’s still runny,” she observed.

We both liked the potatoes, chunks browned all the way around, that still tasted good even after they got cold.

I’ve made eggs Benedict at home and know it’s not easy to get the sauce, eggs and toast all ready at the same time. Triangle does it all day, every day. Nice job. 

I don’t know what I was thinking, but I’m trying to eat healthy, so I ordered a grilled chicken breast on a green salad ($8.95). This is not what you should be eating at the Triangle, but it was good enough, with flavorful balsamic dressing and crunchy seasoned homemade croutons, the chicken a bit chewy. Then I blew it by getting an order of onion rings, at $3.25 too good a bargain to pass up.

And we liked those rings, real onion slices in tasty batter, deep fried. Some were browned a bit more; those were the ones we ate first. They may have been a tiny bit oily, but we didn’t care and had to make an effort not to eat them all.

Triangle Diner makes its own strawberry shortcake and a Baileys Irish Cream bread pudding with caramel sauce. If we were paying attention, we would have tried one of them, but we were so deep in conversation we totally forgot.

The server took my credit card and we got up to go, astonished that it was almost 40 minutes after closing and no one told us.

For that I was genuinely grateful: Life is so short and there’s never enough time for friends to catch up, it seems. Triangle is a good place to do that. Just plan on the line and be sure to order breakfast. Eggs Benedict, perhaps.

Triangle Diner

WHERE: 400 Maple Ave., Saratoga Springs, 518-583-6368.
WHEN: 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday.
HOW MUCH: $34.89 for food, with drinks, tax and tip
MORE INFO: Credit cards: Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover. Accommodations made for children’s meals. Not ADA compliant but accessible by wheelchair.

Categories: Food, Life and Arts

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