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At the Table: Morrissey’s in Saratoga Springs impresses with upscale dishes, elegant style

At the Table: Morrissey’s in Saratoga Springs impresses with upscale dishes, elegant style

The Adelphi Hotel’s lobby bar is swanky and chic, befitting a premier boutique luxury property
At the Table: Morrissey’s in Saratoga Springs impresses with upscale dishes, elegant style
Morrissey’s Lounge in The Adelphi Hotel is a chic space; inset, vegetable and mango maki roll.
Photographer: caroline lee/for the daily gazette

Condé Nast Traveler named The Adelphi Hotel among the top 100 new hotels in the world in 2018. So you would expect the hotel restaurants to rock — and they do.

The Adelphi Hotel’s lobby bar, Morrissey’s Lounge, is swanky and chic, befitting a premier boutique luxury property.

A row of small tables runs along a banquette to one side opposite the bar, with stylish oversized leather seating at the front. Beyond the enormous front windows looking out onto Broadway are regal blue awnings, and lots of sidewalk seating.

Morrissey’s is handsome, with marble tables, coffered ceiling, parquet floor and luxurious decor. A long bar runs along one side, there’s a sushi station in the rear and if all the seats are taken, you can stand at a wood counter that also serves as a room divider. It’s lined with outlets to let you charge your cellphone while you sip your cocktail.

“There are USB ports, too,” said Lisa, impressed. There are outlets and ports at the bar as well.

Perhaps it’s because we visited in the off-season, but Morrissey’s seems a bit, well, self-conscious. Stylish folks lounged at the tables in the front window enjoying handcrafted cocktails, perhaps the Ruffian, a smoke-infused drink honoring the eponymous John Morrissey, gangster and congressman who helped bring racing to Saratoga. Or the Scorched Earth Policy, created with at least three ingredients I’ve never heard of that drive spell-check insane: Génépy, Salers, Punt e Mes. (The first two, European liquers, the last an Italian vermouth.)

I’ll stick with wine, and would have no trouble finding something from their respectable selection of just about one of everything white, rosé, red and sparkling. There are artisanal beers, too, on tap and in cans.

“It’s very noisy,” said Lisa, even though most of the restaurant was empty. But the bar stools were all taken and we wondered if you could hear anything when the place was full. “It’s nice when the volume of the music goes down,” she added.

The menu is one side of a page and styled like an old-time newsletter. A prominent vintage photo of swells in straw hats bellied up at the bar, presumably just back from the thirsty work of playing the ponies, sets the tone.

It’s cultivated casual, simple selections made upscale: their chicken wings are Korean barbecue wings with radish coleslaw ($12). Pork belly shows up maple-glazed as an appetizer, and in a mac and cheese entree. There are flatbreads and salads, which you can top with chicken, salmon or shrimp, and a few select entrees and hot sandwiches, like short rib shepherd’s pie ($14) and a pork Cubano panini ($12). A burger on a brioche bun is $14, about what you’d expect to pay at a swanky place in Saratoga.

There’s a sushi menu too, which explains the sushi counter, complete with a chef who expertly made Lisa’s Adelphi vegetable and mango maki roll ($13). Stylishly presented with sculpted vegetable garnishes in a lacquer-style bowl, the slices of roll were arranged around an orchid. 

“It’s a little sweet,” she said, crediting the fresh mango, adding “I like it.” I did, too. The slices also held lightly pickled vegetables, avocado, apple and cucumber held together in a light green soy paper wrapper.

“The soy sauce is salty and the mango is sweet,” Lisa said, explaining why it was so good. The staging added drama: A small pitcher of soy sauce and dish and chopsticks made for a complete presentation.

My squash bisque, smooth as velvet and thick as heavy cream, was accompanied by a performance. The bowl was presented first with only dots of cranberry jam and a scattering of fresh pumpkin seeds, a lovely spoon-sculpted serving of chive whipped cream with lanky dried sage leaf in the center. That set the stage for the soup, which was poured over, lifting the whipped cream and sage to the top. It was a delight scooping up the pumpkin seeds from the bottom along with the hot soup, as the whipped cream melted in.

Lisa ordered the chicken Milanese, a crumb-coated serving of chicken ($26) served with arugula and shaved aged cheese. It was fried until crispy browned without a trace of excess oil, the meat light and tender. “There’s a bone in here,” said Lisa, examining it. It was an elegant piece of breast, with the first wing bone attached, which keeps the meat moist and makes for a great presentation.

It was a beautiful plate and, she said, delicious. She finished every bit.

I ordered the roasted mushroom panini sandwich ($12), served with spiced homemade Saratoga chips. Morrissey’s uses a selection of exotic mushrooms here; earthy and musky and assertive, they were rather more than I bargained for in a sandwich. I liked the roasted red pepper and the Taleggio cheese that melted so beautifully, but found the mushrooms a bit overwhelming.

Morrissey’s uses great-tasting bread that holds everything together without being dense. We liked the chips, which were dusted with sweet and spicy seasonings. “Almost like barbecue flavor,” she said. They’re best hot.

The dessert choices were challenging. Each had at least one ingredient one of us didn’t like, and they all seemed too complicated. But they were house-made, so we asked the server for a recommendation and were very glad we did.

Lisa and I shared a pot de creme, Morrissey’s style ($12), an elegant collaboration of chocolate marzipan cake, whipped cream and chocolate moelleux, served with slivered toasted almonds, a buttery tuille cookie, a tiny rosemary meringue and candied hibiscus flower.

See? Doesn’t that sound like more than you’re looking for in a dessert? It is, but in the most wonderful way. The moelleux is similar to the ganache inside a molten chocolate cake, quite rich, bitter and sweet at the same time. Lisa didn’t love that part. We liked the almond cake, the cookie and tiny meringue.

Getting back to that candied hibiscus flower: the server assured us it was delicious and encouraged us to try it. “It’s like the best fruit roll-up I’ve ever had,” said Lisa. It’s brilliant red and tastes of maraschino cherry. It was genius.

Our tab came to $74.11 before tip, which seemed reasonable for such a fancy meal in an elegant restaurant. With good service.

I’m not sure we’d have such a leisurely meal in the racing season, or that we’d even be able to hear each other. But Morrissey’s aims to impress, and it does.

Morrissey’s Loungeat The Adelphi Hotel

WHERE: 365 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 518-678-6000
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
HOW MUCH: $74.11, with tax and before tip
MORE INFO: ADA compliant. Credit cards: Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover. Accommodations made for children’s meals. Valet parking or on street. Reservations not accepted.

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