Gazette restaurant reviewers Caroline Lee and Beverly Elander visited about 50 restaurants this year in Schenectady County, Saratoga County and surrounding areas, sampling cuisine ranging from Irish to Thai to Mediterranean and many others.
Here are the picks from Caroline Lee:
Kiernan’s Craft Tavern, Latham
Their entrees are sumptuous, crafted with lush ingredients like truffle oil, créme fraîche, lardons, beef short ribs. Make no mistake, it might have tavern in the name but Kiernan’s is about the craft of cooking. This was been one of the best dining experiences of the year. Bravo.
Mama Mia’s Pizza and Cafe, Saratoga Springs
Mama Mia’s is for everyone, whether you just want to order a sandwich, or splash around your post-track winnings. They are serious about garlic at Mama Mia’s: it’s minced, it’s sliced thin and it’s everywhere. You can expected to be treated well at Mama Mia’s.
Sage Bistro, Guilderland
Buried deep within one of the meccas of commerce on Route 20 in Guilderland, the chef-owned restaurant rises above ordinary, in atmosphere but especially in cuisine. Chef magic makes crisp edges on beef, rich sauces that aren’t heavy and brilliantly seasoned vegetables. Trust the staff to help you craft a perfect meal.
Broadway Lunch, Schenectady
Broadway Lunch is one of those places, small, quirky, with nice people and good food. Don’t you even dare go to that chain sub shop nearby. Support Broadway Lunch, you’ll love it. And bring your friends.
Here are the picks from Beverly Elander:
Mangino’s Gourmet Market and restaurant, Schenectady
The new (Mangino’s) venue offers the same sturdy sauce and homemade pasta as its predecessor. The owners also extend the same family warmth to customers. ... The Meat LaSagna was excellent, especially the sauce. The Short Rib with Cauliflower Mash was succulent and fork tender and the mashed cauliflower was a revelation.
Field Notes, Schenectady
At Field Notes on Lishakill Road, the table was set outside in a square, white tent with glass sides A delightful five-course meal followed. I intend to return to this wonderland of food where the bok choy is smoked and the chive blossoms are pickled. Where nothing tastes the way one expects, and everything amuses the palate.
Amsterdam Castle, Amsterdam
The magnificent first floor of the castle took our breath away. The ceiling rose to the roof of the building in the Castle’s Great Hall. (Owner Nigel) Ghotbi constructed inner walls, adorning them with his personal art collection of more than 200 pieces. My Peking Duck Royale ($23) was fit for a king — or queen. Seasoned with a citrus glaze and orange ginger reduction, two duck legs with thighs (and a breast?) were balanced on each other atop a flavorful bed of rice.
Veronica’s Culinary Tavern, Altamont
Once seated in the cozy dining room with fireplace, highlights were the barbecued baby back ribs, red pepper hummus and zucchini corn fritters. The tavern, formerly called Mio Vino, offers a special blend of food, service and ambience.