time I checked in with Kim Klopstock, nearly five years ago,
she was running the restaurant at Saratoga’s polo grounds
for two days a week during the summer. Best known for her
catering company, the Lily and the Rose, Klopstock and crew
turned out impressive entrées served by a lively staff.
She noted back then that she didn’t want to tie herself to
a restaurant, and even though it can be argued that, with
the opening of Fifty South, she has gone and done so, we’re
still not talking your common-or-garden eatery.
The building Klopstock now occupies spent many years as Leo’s
Diner, and the old sign now hangs inside on one of the dining
room walls. The place is spacious enough to offer a roomy
bar separate enough from the dining area as to disappear.
The largest of the dining rooms is many-windowed and bright,
a cheerful venue for breakfast or lunch.
Which is what’s offered during most of the restaurant’s hours.
The menu invites you to be “a part of the family,” which,
knowing Klopstock, not only is a sincere wish but also puts
you amid the actual family members who help her at the restaurant.
And it extends to the local farms and purveyors from whom
she buys supplies.
First on the menu are preparations of eggs, which can be organic
if you don’t mind paying a little extra. She’ll prepare them
to order (two eggs are $4; with added meat, it’s $6.50), and
you can turn it into a breakfast sandwich, add cheese, whatever.
It’s flexible. Omelettes run about $8; the one listed as “KK’s
Favorite” features caramelized onions, chevre, roasted red
peppers and spinach. Or create your own, working from a pizza-
topping-like list of items.
On the Healthy Morning Choices list you’ll find biodynamically
farmed yogurt ($2.50), homemade granola ($2.50), real Irish
oatmeal ($3) and fresh fruit ($4). You can balance that with
one of the less-than-healthy bakery items, an array that changes
Or go whole hog with something like pancakes. Pancakes! A
rare AM event in my household, what with the constant hither-and-yon-ness
of our scheduling, but I’ve served them often enough to establish
a contrast with the buttermilk pancakes served at Fifty South
($5 for a stack of three).
These are solid, even crispy, cakes, with a texture that stands
up to the syrup. Mine, by contrast, are very light (I fold
in whipped egg whites) and easily drown when the syrup is
added. I mention this only to note that the Fifty South serving
took my daughter by surprise, and proves that one shouldn’t
set one’s expectations too narrowly. At least I got to finish
some of her cakes.
Besides, she’d also filled up on the side order of excellent
sausage (add $2.50). As long as the restaurant is open, breakfast
fare is available. At 11 AM, lunchier stuff kicks in.
Have a cup of soup ($3.50), add to it a salad ($6) or half
sandwich ($8)—or get fancier with a Caesar salad ($7), a blackened-steak
salad with gorgonzola cheese ($10), a poached pear salad with
organic greens, chevre and more ($9) or a good old tuna salad
on a bed of greens with your choice of homemade dressings
Daily lunch specials include Monday’s meatloaf, as a sandwich
($8.50) or meal ($9.50), Thursday’s turkey Reuben ($7.50),
fish and chips on Friday ($9) and, of course, Sunday’s eggs
Handmade burgers are featured on the ongoing sandwich list,
but they’re competing against house-roasted turkey ($7), hot-
pepper-enhanced grilled chicken ($8) and the sandwich I settled
on, a roast beef on a roll turned fancy with caramelized onions
and Boursin cheese ($8.50), with a side of excellent Saratoga
chips. (This pays tribute to the city where the potato chip
My quest for culinary heat is an unnecessary fetish, having
less to do with food than it has with risible machismo. Still,
the prospect of chicken wings given a triple-X rating suggested
that sampling them might be a desirable intromission. The
$8.50 plate lives up to its promise, bringing tears to my
eyes and an unprecedented look of shock to my kid’s face as
she bravely sampled one.
Fifty South’s evening offerings are available Wednesdays through
Saturdays, using a tapas approach of smaller, shareable plates.
Appetizers include clams, calamari, pot stickers, a cheese
plate and an amazing crab cake, priced from $7 to $13; the
larger small plates run from $12 to $14 and feature maple-glazed
Tasmanian salmon, a Thai shrimp bowl, pan-seared duck breast,
linguine topped with homemade pomodoro and pesto and plenty
more, including daily specials.
Service during our visit was friendly if intermittent; although
the food is cooked to order, it still took an unusually long
time to emerge. But we were in no hurry and found the overall
cheerfulness of the place to be totally convincing.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
can make a difference in the lives of those affected
by HIV/AIDS by dining out tonight (Thursday).
Dining Out for Life is an annual one-day
fundraiser held in to 47 cities across North America
to benefit locally based HIV/AIDS service organizations;
participating restaurants donate a generous portion
of proceeds from the day’s checks to their local
AIDS charity. Local venues include Bayou Café,
Beff’s, BFS, Cheesecake Machismo, DeJohn’s, Grandma’s
Restaurant, Justin’s, Magnolias on the Park, Nicole’s
Restaurant, Provence, Scratch Bakery Café, Milano,
Brindisi’s, Hattie’s, Longfellows, Mexican Connection,
Olde Bryan Inn, Tiznow, Ambition, Flavour Café
and Tosca Grill. Call ahead and mention Dining
Out for Life. . . . Remember to pass your scraps
to Metroland (food at banilsson.com).