World Home Cooking
Route 212, Saugerties, 845-246-0900. Serving lunch Sat noon-3,
Sun 11-2:30, dinner Mon-Sat 5-11, Sun 4-10. AE, D, DC, MC,
bold, inventive everything
price range: $15 (single meanhouse pork chop) to $26
(12-ounce grass-fed steak)
colorful and unafraid
Let me digress for a moment. There’s a fellow a couple of
miles away from my home who grows vegetables, and offers a
year-round supply of lettuce and herbs. The salad portion
of my diet thus has increased of late, and the flavor of those
greens is so vibrant, so alive, that I can’t help but see
(and taste) how pathetically lousy the supermarket lettuce
Local food is what’s best, and that’s the starting point of
Ric Orlando’s clean food philosophy. In the six years since
we last saluted his restaurant in these pages, he has taken
his love of bold flavors and wrapped it around an approach
to cooking that’s so seemingly simple that we have to wonder
what the hell is sending us into the torture chambers of bad
he says, “you’re probably better off eating at McDonald’s
than in your local diner. McDonald’s gets demonized, but at
least they have a degree of quality control you don’t see
in a lot of local places.”
Orlando is in his eighth year of business at his Saugerties
location; he spent five years just outside of Woodstock before
that. And his restaurant has stayed true to his promise, something
he articulated even before he left the Albany area to start
the place. It quickly became as much of a culture as a restaurant,
a place you’d want to visit for the company as much as the
It would have been difficult to do in Albany thanks to the
city’s cultural inferiority complex; the greater Woodstock
area, with its visiting population of self-assured Manhattanites,
has embraced New World with old world vigor.
The building sits a few miles from Thruway exit 20, and its
low-slung, unassuming exterior hints at what’s inside with
a large front-yard sculpture of a silver ball suspended from
a metal tripod. I take it to be representative of the New
World for which the restaurant is named.
love to cook,” the menu proclaims, encouraging you to pursue
any special dietary requirements. Low-carb, gluten- or dairy-free,
vegetarian or vegan fare is unremarkable here, although, during
a visit a few years ago, Orlando did spend several minutes
explaining to a teenage vegan friend of mine why her diet
was unhealthy for her age.
It’s a measure of his complete involvement with food that
he has studied it down to the chemical level. And that explains
his insistence on the worthiness of component products. But
there’s never a lack of flavor or inventiveness in his approach.
Take the stuffed morels ($10), an appetizer we sampled during
a recent visit. The mushrooms themselves were harvested in
Dutchess County; inside each of the four is a mixture of goat
cheese and a pesto made with sunflower seeds. It’s an amazing
confluence of flavors, on a plate finished with an oak leaf
lettuce salad and a tomato-chipotle vinaigrette. The dish
is riotously good, yet sports none of the crap typically used
to inject or influence flavor.
Both the core menu and the daily specials reflect this approach.
Orlando is known for dishes like jerk chicken ($18), grilled
free-range, grass-fed, locally sourced beef ($26) and brined
pork chops grilled and served with spicy meanhouse sauce ($15
or $20 for one or two).
one of those chefs who stays close to the kitchen,” he says.
“Having me there helps us stay true to our original mission,
which is to serve beautiful peasant food and stay in a certain
price range, keeping most of the entrées in the ’teens. As
a result, we have people who eat here five nights a week.”
That’s one reason why the specials menu changes frequently;
another, of course, is to take advantage of what’s fresh.
Even something as fundamental as a puttanesca evolves in Orlando’s
hands into something stirring: Served over DeCecco penne with
flaked poached salmon ($17, or $8 for a small portion), it
had the bold flavors of organic tomatoes laced with garlic,
along with the anchovies-olives-capers trio basic to this
A medley of Ric-approved flavors and textures graces los
bocaditos ($13 or $7), little bites of chorizo,
stuffed grape leaves, smoked mussels, a selection of local
cheeses and Sicilian olive crostini to kind of tie it all
together. It’s the kind of plate to linger over with a glass
of wine or beer and some sympathetic friends. And I had the
feeling that I could find and join such friends at any neighboring
Slices of roasted and sweetly glazed duck breast ($20) also
had a vigorous hit of spicy heat; served over a crisped noodle
cake with a side of bok choy-based kimchi, it was positively
With a large selection of salads and smaller meals, you can
tour many aspects of New World’s cuisine in a single sitting.
We freshened our palates by sharing a cabbage-based Vietnamese
salad ($9 or $6), which was dressed with sprouts, scallions,
peanuts and an array of greens, with a tamarind-peanut dressing.
Orlando clearly has not only maintained but joyfully enlarged
upon his original mission. He offers clean food, slow food,
food that celebrates life itself. The cheerful dining room,
with its gaudy walls and lavish art, is part of the welcome;
the service also reflects this personality. Very few restaurants
figure out the secret of running a truly efficient floor,
and those that do are usually stratospherically priced. Here
you see a combination of a love of good food and a love of
people combining to offer a matchless dining experience.
last week’s Spring/Summer Dining Guide, the entry we published
for the restaurant Franklin’s Tower was not properly updated
or listed under the correct cuisine category; that should
be “Continental,” and here is the entry as it should have
414 Broadway, Albany, 431-1920. From pub fare (burgers, wraps,
pulled pork) to a full dinner menu featuring such items as
prosciutto-wrapped grilled shrimp, marinated pork tenderloin,
steaks, seafood and pasta dishes. Full bar, on-premises catering,
takeout available. Serving 11:30-9 Mon-Thu, 11:30-10 Fri,
5-10 Sat. AE, D, MC, V. $$$
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
fine-dining restaurant at Saratoga Gaming and
Raceway has been completely rebuilt and is now
open for business. Fortunes, a 500-seat
venue that sits above the harness track and offers
an excellent view from all seats, has been handsomely
reappointed and boasts chef Thomas Gisler, formerly
of Cooperstown’s Otesaga Hotel. Both à la carte
and buffet dining are available; watch this space
for a review. . . . Jack’s Oyster House
(42 State Street, Albany) has been selected by
the Nation’s Restaurant News Editorial
Board as a 2005 Nation’s Restaurant News Fine
Dining Hall of Fame Honoree. Criteria for nomination
include excellence in food, quality, service,
ambience and leadership in staff training and
motivation. Jack’s owner Brad Rosenstein will
attend the induction at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel
in Chicago on May 22, and an upcoming issue of
Nation’s Restaurant News will feature an
in-depth profile of Rosenstein and the restaurant.
. . . This Saturday (April 30) will be the grand
opening of the Battenkill Kitchen, Inc.,
a shared-use kitchen that will be available for
rentals, classes, product launches, etc. It is
located at the Historic Salem Courthouse on 58
E. Broadway in Salem. Saturday’s event will include
a ribbon- cutting ceremony, cooking demonstrations
and tastings. For more information on joining
BKI or renting the facility, call 854-3095. .
. . Remember to pass your scraps to Metroland
(e-mail food@ banilsson.com).
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very much enjoyed eating dinner at Daniel's
at Ogdens. You review described my dining
experience perfectly. This wasn't the case
with Pancho's. I much prefer Garcia's or
Lake View Tavern for Mexican fare. I agree
that a restaurant can have an off night
so I'll give the second unit on Central
Avenue a try.
yes I miss the star ratings, bring it back.
Second, I haven't had a chance to visit
Poncho's yet, but I especially like reading
would travel to Amsterdam to this restaurant
- it's not that far away. People traveled
from all over to eat at Ferrandi's in Amsterdam.
From his background, I'm sure the chef's
sauce is excellent and that is the most
important aspect of an Italian restaurant.
Sometimes your reviewer wastes words on
the negative aspects of a restaurant. I'm
looking forward to trying this restaurant
- I look forward to Metroland every Thursday
especially for the restaurant review. And
by the way Ferrandi's closed its Amsterdam
location and is opening a new bistro on
Saratoga Lake - Should be up and running
in May. It will be called Saratoga Lake
Bistro. It should be great!
comments about the Indian / Pakistani restaurants
being as "standardized as McDonald's"
shows either that you have eaten at only
a few Indian / Pakistani restaurants or
that you have some prejudices to work out.
That the physical appearances are not what
you would consider fancy dancy has no bearing
on the food. And after all, that is what
the main focus of the reviews should be.
Not the physical appearances, which is what
most of your reviews concentrate on.
A restaurant like The Shalimar, down on
Central Avenue, may not look the greatest,
but the food is excellent there. And the
menu has lots of variety - beef, lamb, vegetarian,
chicken, and more..