MALTA — Andy’s is a fixture on this busy road: It’s been here more than 20 years. In 2014, Andy’s got an update with a new menu and an Adirondack theme. It works.
Everything looks new and a bit glossy, but the restaurant feels warm and welcoming. In addition to pine paneling on the walls and ceiling, the tables and chairs and the bar are all light-colored wood. Along with the log-style exterior, it all adds up to a pleasant, cabin-in-the-woods feel. Most of the diners this chilly night gathered at tables near the gas-burning stone fireplace at one end of the dining room.
My friend Sheryl and I, opting for a quiet spot, took a table on the pine paneled, large-windowed porch facing Route 9. “The porch reminds me of my parents’ house,” on Chautauqua Lake, Sheryl said, looking around. “And the paneling is the same,” she added. In other words, familiar and comfortable. Near a lake.
Our server attended to us right away. She brought menus, along with fresh hot coffee for Sheryl, which was topped off throughout the meal.
Andy’s prices are reasonable. The night’s special was a burger and glass of house wine or a beer for $12. There’s gourmet pizza and sandwiches, such as pulled pork topped with coleslaw on a Kaiser roll for $10.95. Appetizers can be fancy, like two types of steamed clams ($11.95 and $12.95), a shrimp martini ($10.95) or casual, like mozzarella sticks or baskets of fries and onion rings ($5.95). Dinner entrees include chicken Parm ($16.95, with pasta), fish and chips ($14.95) and chicken Marsala ($16.95). The menu tops out at $25.95 for a 12-ounce grilled sirloin steak with potato and vegetables. Entrees include salad or soup; pasta dishes come with garlic bread; burgers and sandwiches include fries.
Food started coming out right away, salad for me, lobster and shrimp soup (a $2 upcharge) for Sheryl. The soup, normally $5.95 a cup or $7.95 a bowl, was an exceptional, rich pink bisque with big chunks of meat. “Oh, this is really good,” said Sheryl, who passed it over to me. It was piping hot, with a distinct aroma of lobster that boosted the flavor of the soup itself. The shiny surface, velvety texture and creamy consistency made it a winner.
My house salad ($3.75 a la carte) was very fresh, with crunchy iceberg and some fancy greens, two small tomatoes, a few slices of cucumber, shaved carrots, slim purple rings of onion and lots of tasty croutons. Balsamic dressing was served in a small plastic cup.
A specialty appetizer was our next course, firecracker shrimp ($10.95), which was delivered when we were only halfway into our soup and salad. It was piping hot, so it could wait until we were ready. The large deep-fried breaded shrimp were coated in a pleasant sticky-sweet hot and peppery sauce. The coating on the shrimp stayed crispy and stood up to the spicy sauce. It was very good, and we’d have eaten more but it was time for the next course.
The server cleared our salad and soup plates, and wrapped the rest of the shrimp. I didn’t feel rushed so much as that the server and kitchen were over-enthusiastic. But we soon forgot — our dinners looked great.
Sheryl ordered the pasta Algonquin with chicken ($16.90), penne pasta with fresh garlic, basil, broccoli and spinach in an olive oil and white wine sauce. She liked how the spinach was cooked: just a bit and still bright green. “The flavor of the sauce is very subtle,” she said, but was able to bring the ingredients together into a satisfying dish. Nicely done.
My John Henry haddock ($15.95) was an appealing plate, with red tomato slices laid atop a big white fillet and breadcrumbs sprinkled over. The side of mixed vegetables were bright red pepper, carrot and green beans, all cut to similar size and glossy with butter, seasoned with salt and pepper. My favorite part was the homemade rice pilaf with bits of fresh carrot and celery. Entrees come with two slices of garlic bread, soft and buttered on both sides, that slide right down.
I’d have liked the green beans cooked a bit more, but the red pepper and carrot were just right. We agreed that both dishes were a good price for what we got.
My dish was named for John Henry Hill, also known as the “Hermit of Lake George,” who came to the area in 1869 and had an artist’s retreat on Phantom Island.
He is known for his sketches and paintings of the area, not for baked haddock, but it was nice to learn about him.
Desserts are not made in-house, but are reasonably priced and tasty. Sheryl gave high marks to the slice of chocolate layer cake ($6.95) with two kinds of frosting.
It was served attractively with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. I tried the carrot cake ($6.95), bolstered with fresh pineapple bits and nuts, with cream cheese frosting. The dusting of cinnamon on the plate made it look inviting.
The tab for this very comprehensive meal came to $66.01 with tax, before tip. Our server boxed up the leftovers and took care of the bill in a timely fashion.
We enjoyed our evening together and the food at Andy’s well enough that Sheryl’s going back, on a Thursday night, for the Jambalaya special with her husband. “He’ll like this, too.” she said.
Andy’s Adirondack Grille
WHERE: 2872 Route 9, Malta; 518-580-1269; andysadkgrille.com
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Closed Sunday.
HOW MUCH: $66.01 for food, with tax and before tip.
MORE INFO: Not fully wheelchair accessible. Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover. Children’s menu.