Abeel’s Restaurant 910 Rock City Rd., Milton, 602-0220.
Serving lunch Tue-Sun 11-3, dinner Tue-Thu 3-9, Fri-Sat 3-10,
Sun 3-8. MC, V.
price range: $14.29 (sliced grilled beef) to $17 (N.Y.
strip, duck breast or others)
Tony Abeel had his eye on this location for quite some time.
Even as he and his wife, Julie, were running a restaurant
in St. Johnsville, way over in Montgomery County, they were
wishing they could get back to the Saratoga area.
The place in Milton had been a restaurant many years before,
but for the past decade or so it was a shop selling food-service
equipment. It became available a couple of years ago, and
the Abeels quickly worked to acquire it and get it back into
shape for the kind of eatery they had in mind. A year and
a half ago, they opened.
Think Saratoga area and naturally you think about taking advantage
of the August madness. Some places seem to be in business
only for that reason; others cash in on the season with higher
The Abeels have no such plan. Julie wasn’t at all bashful
about telling us their philosophy when we stopped by for dinner
one night not long ago. “We really want to take care of our
neighbors,” she said. “That’s why we don’t try to cater to
the racetrack crowd.”
Sure, they got some last year, and I would suspect that those
who ventured forth to find the place were surprised and rewarded—surprised
at the good food; rewarded by the more-than-reasonable prices.
Not to mention the triumph of finding a place that’s pretty
well tucked away.
It’s near what serves as my back way to Saratoga: I take Middle
Line Road, which ambles north from Route 67 in Ballston Spa
to Route 29 just outside of Saratoga. But take it only to
the second four-way stop. To your right, the cross street
is Geyser Road; on your left (and that’s where to turn) it’s
Rock City Road. Follow it. You’ll soon see Abeel’s on the
As a hungry traveler, you’ll find immediate reward at the
small salad bar. “People are usually hungry when they get
here,” says Tony. “I want to give them a little something
It really is just that: a salad bar. Not one of those so-many-items-it-hurts
assemblies. Start with some leaves for a green salad. When
we visited, it was iceberg lettuce only, but Tony assures
me there’s usually Romaine and spinach there, too. Then decorate
the salad with any of the common accompaniments. “We often
get customers who don’t want onions or don’t want tomatoes
on their salad. This way, everyone gets what they want.”
You could argue that there’s room enough in this restaurant
for a much larger salad bar and more, but the generous size
of the place gives each table a more intimate feel. If you
want to be closer to others, spend some time at the bar (cocktails,
not salads), which you’ll pass through as you enter, but which
is maintained as a separate room.
The something-for-everyone menu spreads its selections over
four pages, one of which lists lighter fare. I might argue
with the designation of chicken parmigiana as such—breaded,
fried anything topped with cheese sits a little heavily with
me—but the $10 entrée gives a more-than-generous portion over
a mound of pasta, which gave us enough for a follow-up meal.
And it’s the real thing: breaded in the kitchen, as opposed
to the chain restaurant style of using cryovac-sealed, pre-breaded
Also on that list are a hamburger with fries ($5.29), baked
or fried haddock ($11), a popular hot turkey dinner ($10),
If you’re looking for something lighter still, the list of
appetizers presents a number of standards—clams, shrimp, chicken
wings—along with a good, classic crock of French onion soup
($4.79) that’s a reminder of the rich, complex flavor you
only get when the brew is homemade.
Oriental pot stickers ($6.59) boast a pork filling, a pungent
dipping sauce, and a small side of perfumed rice. Stuffed
mushrooms ($5.79) are more complicated than is typical: They
have a sausage-and-pepper stuffing and a snowcaps of melted
Two pages of entrées cover a range that runs from a $15 vegetable
Napoleon (grilled veggies topped with pesto) to a $17 grilled
New York strip. Duck breast ($17) is served with a sherry-enhanced
duxelle; pork medallions ($17) are joined by portobellos,
vinegar-soaked tomatoes and feta cheese.
Given any menu to contemplate, my wife immediately checks
out the chicken dishes and exults over the most boring-sounding
preparations. Fortunately, neither of Abeel’s listings sounded
dull: Chicken Mediterranean ($15) adds artichoke hearts, tomatoes
and olives, with a garlic-enhanced white wine sauce; the chicken
and sausage pasta ($14.79), which Susan enjoyed, mixed chunks
of excellent sweet sausage with the chicken bits and some
colorful peppers in a bed of fettuccine, finished with a rich
garlic cream sauce.
The menu has been evolving, and the current one features lighter
sauces and some changes in preparations of duck, salmon and
trout. The rainbow trout is baked, split open and served with
a buttery sauce flavored with thyme and Mandarin orange slices,
which mixes well with the easygoing flavor of the meat. And
it’s served with head and tail intact unless you request otherwise;
if you request otherwise, why are you bothering even to eat
Every community needs an Abeel’s to fight the rising tide
of chain restaurants and general mediocrity, so this little
corner of the county is fortunate. Service couldn’t have been
friendlier, and I have a feeling that you’ll soon be part
of the family when you make this a regular stop.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
Cappiello Festa Italiana takes place this
weekend (Friday-Sunday, June 24-26) in Schenectady’s
Central Park. It’s an annual celebration of Italian
culture with food, children’s activities, bocce,
cooking and wine demonstrations, casino games,
children’s rides, strolling mandolinist and vocal
musicians, several bands and dance groups. Featured
entertainment is by the Tuscan Duo at 8 PM Saturday
and tenor Michael Amante at 7 PM Sunday. Admission
is free. For more info, check out www.festa-italiana.com,
or call 372-5656. . . . The Van Dyck Restaurant
(237 Union Street, Schenectady) begins brewing
beer again this week. The facility was part of
the Van Dyck’s extensive refurbishment eight years
ago and welcomes back brewmaster Jason Furman,
who was part of the original crew. He’s promising
to start off with an amber ale, an India Pale
Ale, a traditional German wheat beer and a raspberry
wheat beer; the second week of brewing will produce
the Van Dyck’s “Coal Porter,” a classic pilsner,
the popular “Edison Electric Light” and a traditional
English bitter. Furman will be brewing in the
evenings, when customers can watch him at work.
For more information, call the restaurant at 381-1111.
. . . Remember to pass your scraps to Metroland
(e-mail food@banils son.com).
want your feedback
you eaten at any
recently reviewed restaurants?
Agree or disagree with B.A.? Let us know what you think...
address not required to submit your feedback, but required to
be placed in running for a Van Dyck Gift Certificate.
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..