LATHAM — “Exactly how many teapots do you have in your collection?” I asked my friend Virginia as we finished our delightful lunch at the Tailored Tea. “I’ve never counted,” she said, somewhat evasively. She loves tea: hence, the teapots.
So I brought her along to the Tailored Tea, a breakfast, lunch and tea restaurant in a historic building near the Albany airport, where they take tea seriously. They also take the food seriously, so even if you don’t like tea you will enjoy your meal.
The 1805 farmhouse that also served as town hall and stagecoach stop was owned by Ebenezer Hills and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Now it houses a charming restaurant owned and operated by Annie Misir.
In the way of old houses, it’s broken up into small rooms, but the abundance of windows provides plenty of cheerful light. Everything’s painted white with green accents, and it is simply and femininely decorated with vintage mismatched tablecloths and tableware. Upstairs, there are more tables and a gallery that showcases local artists.
The Tailored Tea
WHERE: 1010 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, 608-5137, thetailoredtea.com
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
HOW MUCH: $47.42 with tax and tip
MORE INFO: Wheelchair accessible. Reservations accepted for parties of six or more. Children’s meals.
The tea menu offered so many selections that Virginia had a hard time choosing. The server offered advice. After she learned what Virginia was ordering for lunch, she steered her away from the fruit-flavored teas to Darjeeling ($3.50 for a half-pot), a perfect complement to her meal. I chose the tangy raspberry-apple iced tea ($2.50) with brilliant color and flavor. A little sweetness made it the best flavored tea I’ve ever had.
You can have a proper afternoon tea, at prices starting at $7. You can have breakfast and lunch, or early supper if it’s Monday through Friday when they’re open until 7 p.m. There are daily specials of soup and scones. Sandwiches are $7 or $8, including a side of orzo salad.
Virginia ordered soup and a half sandwich ($10) and I chose, after some clarification, the salad called Today’s Tailored Salad ($10 with turkey), not to be confused with the Tailor’s Favorite salad. Sandwiches are named for historic New Yorkers, like local favorite Ann Lee (roasted turkey on multi-grain bread with cran-mayo), and Horace Greeley (roasted veggie wrap with hummus).
The soup of the day was beef vegetable and Virginia was stirring a generous cup to cool it off. “Carrots, celery, onions, green beans,” she said. “And these rotini things and pieces of beef.” It tasted like good homemade soup, she said.
Tender roast beef
The half roast beef sandwich was served on freshly made white bread, and the quality of the meat was evident. The roast beef was very tender, Virginia said, and it had the texture of home-roasted meat. The basil mayonnaise seasoning was lively, and the sturdy crust brought to mind Mom’s homemade white bread.
The side of orzo pasta salad ($3.50) is attractively served over colorful mixed greens, with bits of vegetables that provide even more color. Virginia thought it was perfect. I added salt.
My salad was composed of more of those greens and vegetables turned sweet from roasting. Even the green squash had great flavor. The sweet potato lived up to its name. Thin slices of turkey breast were rolled and then sliced for easy eating. It was good enough on its own, but was even better with the slightly sweet balsamic dressing. Everything we tasted we appreciated and enjoyed.
The dessert put the bill up a bit, but it was real homemade stuff I wanted to try. We ordered the trio of well-matched small desserts ($7) to share. I tried the cupcake first, the maple frosting packed plenty of flavor in addition to the excellent made-from-scratch cake.
Virginia took care of the chocolate macaroon and we shared the slice of tender limoncello cake layered with lemon curd. All were worth the extra money and calories.
The tab for our meal with two beverages, tax, tip, and dessert, came to $47.42. Everything we ate was delicious, and the atmosphere couldn’t have been more charming. The Tailored Tea is delightful.