in the Village
Burlington Ave., Round Lake, 899-6000. Serving lunch Tue-Sat
11:30-2:30, dinner Tue-Sat 4:30-8:45, Sun 3-8. AE, MC, V.
price range: $19 (Tuscan chicken) to $33 (filet mignon
Round Lake elegance
The village began life in the 1860s as a Methodist retreat,
holding camp meetings that attracted thousands. The pine woods,
the yucky mineral water, the nearby train service made it
a kind of mini-Saratoga, and folks flocked to become summer
residents, a few staying on through the winter as well. Houses
sprang up; the auditorium was built, and the clean-living
Methodists made sure that educational and cultural resources
Round Lake prospered as a fin de siècle curiosity,
but declined through the middle of the 20th century. Nevertheless,
dedicated residents voted to become a village in 1969, and
not long thereafter the hamlet’s uniqueness inspired restoration
efforts, boosted by a hefty HUD grant in 1980.
In 1985, a small dessert business called Sweet Nothings opened
in the village; when its building became available in 2000,
chef-owner Scott Ringwood and his business partner Bob McKenna
purchased it with a goal of improving the place and putting
in a fine-dining restaurant.
Something of that doughty Methodistishness bubbled up, and
a year later Ringwood and McKenna were facing off against
the village’s zoning board of appeals. A state Supreme Court
judge had to wrist-slap the board so that the restaurant,
originally to be called Lake Ridge Tavern, could open for
dinner service. And even then it was given the goofy restriction
of serving only until 8:45!
Now that the place has been open for nearly five years, I
hope that the worried neighbors who pursued the restrictions
have been mollified. The place is anything but a drinker’s
hangout, and I can’t imagine that a dinner of herb-crusted
swordfish ($22) and a glass of Chardonnay is going to inspire
much post-prandial parking-lot revelry.
I paid a visit on a recent weeknight, getting in under the
wire at 8:30. With the recent enclosure of a porch, there
are now three dining rooms to choose among, the porch being
the nicest on a late spring night. We sat amid a scattering
of physicians and their families, reminding me once again
that it’s time for a checkup. I figure that every dollar I
send my doctor’s way helps keep my favorite eateries alive.
We last dined here shortly after Lake Ridge opened, and I’m
im pressed to see that the same high standards of service
and food persevere. Ringwood credits his new manager, Diana
Murphy, with bringing fresh life to the place.
Servers are young, but ours knew the menu well enough to credibly
recommend items, and everything was delivered with a minimum
of fuss and no sense of neglect.
A new table d’hôte menu gives a choice of starter (soup
or salad), entrée (choose from three) and dessert for $23.
American diners dislike this kind of package, wanting to attach
a price tag to every component of the meal—hence the grumpiness
over that little surprise at the end, the gratuity—but I dine
in search of a complete experience, dinner as a three-act
play, so table d’hôte suits me fine.
The day’s salad featured gorgonzola-filled tortellini with
sautéed Swiss chard, but my wife, who opted for this feast,
enjoyed a cup of corn chowder thickened with a touch of sour
cream, a refreshing variation.
Two of the entrée options were sautéed veal cutlet or grilled
chicken breast, but tilapia won, sold by its preparation:
a dusting of corn meal and a quick sauté. And the flavors
of lemon and dill, good complements to this light-flavored
fish. I enjoyed the textural strangeness of the cornmeal and
fish combo, giving a crunchy crust to a creamy-soft meat,
but Susan, ever in fear of anything breadlike, removed the
crust from her portion.
I threw myself on the meal-design mercy of our server, who
suggested artichoke soufflé ($8) as a starter. It’s the familiar
dip with spinach, but Ringwood blends an array of cheeses
into it, sweetens it with roasted garlic and supplies the
right bread companion: slices from a crusty French loaf.
Eggplant Napoleon ($8) and southwestern ravioli (filled with
black beans and roasted corn, $8.25) also were contenders;
crab cakes ($9), escargot ($8.50) and Bostonian shrimp (wrapped
in bacon with a horseradish stuffing) ($9) were also starter
A trio of combo dinners starts off that portion of the menu.
A $24 Brazilian seafood stew combines a bunch of favorite
fish with tomatoes, peppers, coconut milk and cilantro, and
it’s served over rice; the filet and crab cake combo ($29)
should satisfy the surf-and-turf fiends, unless you want the
$33 filet and lobster plate.
The dozen entrées that remain hew closely to continental-menu
expectations, but with creative reimaginings. Some dishes
Ringwood presents simply. Salmon, for instance, is roasted
and finished with goat cheese and a curried vinaigrette ($21).
All right: For him it’s simple. There’s Tuscan chicken, roasted
with garlic and rosemary, served with Swiss chard over couscous
($19); rack of lamb ($27.50), presenting all eight chops with
a cabernet demi-glaze; and an eight-ounce filet mignon ($25)
that’s grilled and served with a roasted garlic purée.
Others he crusts, like my recommended dish, the pecan pork
chop ($21). It’s a mammoth piece of meat, a 14-ounce chop
invisible behind its nuts, the flavor radically enhanced by
a sweet-and-sour cherry compote.
You can’t eat other than mashed potatoes with this dish, and
the crisp, fat string beans glistening alongside were likewise
appropriate. Everything served here was as tasteful as it
Tour the village and enjoy its antique architecture, then
settle in at the restaurant for similarly appealing meal.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
Father’s Day with the Chairman at John Bove’s
My Way Café (Routes 9 and 67E, Malta),
which celebrates June 18 with two dinner shows
(4:30 and 7) featuring the restaurant’s original
Italian-inspired cooking, including complete three-course
dinners for $18. And you’ll be entertained by
Sinatra stylist Brian D., who salutes his own
father as well with favored numbers. Reservations
are required; call 899-4196. . . . Remember to
pass your scraps to Metroland (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
want your feedback
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Agree or disagree with B.A.? Let us know what you think...
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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..