SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Kaffee House on Saratoga’s west side has an emphasis on home cooking. Baked goods are made in-house and there’s a different soup for every day of the week.
It’s located in a professional building on West Avenue; the coffee shop is on the first floor if you walk in from the street. The building and its neighbors, including apartments and offices above, have a large parking area behind the buildings. When we visited it was quite full.
If you enter the building through the back, you walk up a set of stairs and enter in the rear of the restaurant.
It’s cheerful and sunny, with windows at the street and in the rear overlooking the parking lot. Your initial impression is of space, with counter at the front and tables around the walls. There’s also armchair seating, with side tables like those you’d have in your living room or den. They’re great to put a drink on, but you can’t really eat comfortably at them.
Attractive pastries are shown to advantage in a glass case near the register. A sliced cheesecake looked especially appealing. Puff pastry was used for croissants and other lovely desserts. Small packages of jam-filled cookies and some cupcakes were for sale.
A carpeted sitting area has a glass-fronted fireplace that was dark, with more armchairs.
I liked the shelves of books and magazines. If I were there by myself, I’d pick one up to read.
There’s a primo table in the front window, and one at the back, and a few two-tops here and there. A large table against one wall wasn’t inviting. The best seats were taken, so Sheryl and I took the high-top in the rear of the shop, with a view of the back entrance and hallway.
You can rent the glassed-in conference room for a meeting by the hour and Kaffee House will provide catering. Several tables have been put together to seat 10; it’s a comfortable and welcoming work area.
Sheryl and I were reminded that it was Saratoga County Restaurant Week by an advertisement at the register. The special at Kaffee House was half a Reubenator sandwich and a cup of goulash soup for $15.
A Reubenator is a Reuben sandwich with turkey, says the menu, and in the photo it looks like it’s been toasted or grilled, with thick layers of meat and sauerkraut, and a swipe of mustard. It looks hearty.
The Kaffee House is open at 7:30 a.m. six days a week for breakfast and lunch. There are eggs served with choice of toast and toppings ($7.19), as well as waffles ($12.99) and quiche ($7.29) to start the day. If you want lunch, there are sandwiches such as the Reubenator ($14.99) and BLT ($9.99); house or spinach salads with various toppings and dressings; and soups.
There is a different soup for each day of the week. For Restaurant Week there was also goulash every day. I’d like to try the carrot ginger, but I’d have to come back on a Tuesday. Soups look homemade.
In fact, the cup of ($5.99) goulash soup I tried was very homemade, with lots of chopped cabbage, carrot, and red and green pepper in a mild broth. The beef came in small pieces and was expertly cooked, tender but not falling apart.
I’m not a big fan of cabbage so I didn’t finish the soup, though clearly it was made in-house by someone who knows how to cook.
Sheryl had a square of broccoli quiche ($7.29) that was browned on the top. “I like that,” she told me. Broccoli can make things soggy, but not here. The crust was still firm even after reheating. It needed salt, she thought.
I asked the nice person at the counter about the egg-and-cheese ($7.19). “Is that a sandwich?” I wondered. “It is if you want,” he replied, endlessly flexible. He read off a long list of breads from which I chose a bagel, and I added bacon. On the menu, after Egg and Cheese and before the price, were the words, “choice of bread, toppings.” I didn’t realize they were extra.
The bagel was $1.19 extra, the bacon $2.09 — so my egg and cheese came to $10.47.
Everything is so expensive now that I don’t even give the bill a second look when it seems high. I understand that everything is more costly these days, for owners and customers.
In any case, it was a good sandwich on a tender bagel. The egg was somewhere between fried and scrambled, and there were two slices of tasty, thin bacon on top. It was buttery from cooking, and good, but the bagel was too much bread. That’s on me.
Kaffee House gets a lot of redeeming points for the excellent sides that came with my $10.47 egg-and-cheese. There were slices of crisp, orchard-fresh Cortland apple; sliced red and green grapes; and a small salad with baby spinach, shredded carrot and purple cabbage. It wasn’t dressed; didn’t need it. Very nice job.
There wasn’t much cheese and it was folded into the egg. Though it leaked out a bit, I had to poke with my fork to find it. Sheryl mentioned that the quiche didn’t seem to have much cheese, either.
I salted my sandwich and we talked about how it’s better to add salt than to have too much. Sheryl said she’d like something in the quiche, an herb, or some seasoning.
She enjoyed a latte with a vanilla shot, which she described with enthusiasm as “really good, nice and smooth.” The receipt showed an additional charge of $0.65 for the shot, which is not unusual, and another for “M 0.7,” for 70 cents, $5.44 all told.
No one answered the phone when I called just after closing and the mailbox was full, so M 0.7 will remain a mystery for now.
Sheryl enjoyed her foamy latte with a puff pastry chocolate braid with sugar crumbs ($3.69). The filling was sticky, fudgy and pleasant, she said. It looked very appealing.
I wrapped up my apple turnover ($3.69) to take home and enjoyed it later, sharing with husband Eric.
The turnover, though short on apples, was a nice surprise, as the pastry was super-flaky and the icing, made with lemon juice, added an extra zing. The turnovers don’t need any adornment other than icing — the layers are so beautiful that the sprinkles and candies were unnecessary. I’d keep the dusting of cinnamon.
Husband Eric liked the crust a lot. “Too much apple would spoil it,” he said, spraying flakes of pastry all over the table.
My niece Ann Marie is a Kaffee House fan, and if she’s in the neighborhood will get a coffee at the drive-thru as a treat.
Our meal, with a bottle of water ($2.19) and everything else, came to $41.47. I would have added a tip to the receipt but you can’t. There’s a tip jar, but they’d do better if you could add it to the receipt.
We had a pleasant meal that reminded us that inflation is creeping in everywhere. I’ll go back on a Tuesday to try that soup.
Caroline Lee is a freelance writer who lives in Troy. Reach her at [email protected].
WHERE: 120 West Ave., Saratoga Springs; (518)729-8480; kaffeehousesaratoga.com
WHEN: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday to Thursday; 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday; 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday
HOW MUCH: $41.47, plus a few bucks in the tip jar
MORE INFO: ADA compliant; parking lot in rear; all major credit cards