B. A. Nilsson
River St., Hudson Falls, 745-5845.
11-2 Mon, 11-8 Tue-Thu, 11-9 Fri-Sat. D, MC, V.
price range: $7 (half-sandwich and soup) to $12 (mixed
a Wizard of Oz-like tornado were to lift a representative
seafood shack from its Maine moorings and whisk it, intact,
many miles inland—dropping it, let’s say, in the unlikely
venue of Hudson Falls—it might look something like the Adirondack
Seafood Co. There would be one major difference though: The
pricing wouldn’t be nearly as crazy.
Unobtrusively perched on the road from Glens Falls to Hudson
Falls, this unprepossessing place has the look of a tumbledown
saloon—that is, until you note that it’s intentionally rustic
and step inside to find a comfortable dining room.
Stop by the sales counter first. Had I done so, I would have
seen the fresh bluefish. If I had spotted this or the magnificent
scallops that had arrived that morning, I would have completely
restrategized my meal. Scallops are deceptive and too often
the water-filled result of a drawn-out harvest trip. Dry-packed
scallops are costlier, but the differences in flavor and texture
the only kind we get here,” said our server, Donna, when I
finished my meal and took a look. “Since this was your first
time here, I should have recommended them.”
She wasn’t exactly falling down on the job, though. An 11-year
veteran of the place, Donna knows the ins and outs of the
menu and is on a first-name-basis with the large customer
base. “Some of them travel a long way to get here,” she noted.
This isn’t surprising. Where else could you go to get seafood
this fresh? It’s tough enough to find it in the Albany area,
never mind in a less-populated area like Hudson Falls. So,
it made sense for owner Mike Willig to expand what started
as a market into his full-fledged eatery. The building itself
had a long history as a bar, so it was already well-known.
The 12-table dining room is guarded by a large portrait of
oilskin-clad fishermen who regard the viewer with expressions
of defiance. They’re flanked by wall-mounted fish, bodies
a-twist as if rushing to escape the net. Other nautical decorations
include lamps, driftwood, and a tiny fisherman that was perch-ed
on the windowsill beside my table, which I didn’t spot until
well into the meal.
I was distracted by the menu. It was not at all what I expected
to find. The restaurant’s name notwithstanding, I figured
I’d see a listing of burgers, pasta and other such pub fare
alongside a few seafood possibilities. Instead, it listed
nothing but seafood, save for the token chicken breast, turkey,
or BLT sandwiches.
Look for littlenecks ($8), fried calamari ($7), popcorn shrimp
($7), a basket of shrimp, clams or calamari with fries for
$8; ditto fish and chips. Choose a fried or broiled preparation
of scrod or haddock ($10), sole or shrimp ($11), scallops
or a full-out platter ($12). Have the all-you-can-eat fish
fry for $11, or pick something from the sales display and
have it fried or broiled for $1 per pound more than its retail
It was no surprise to discover that the house clam chowder
is commendable. I suspect it’s the location—between Manhattan
and Maine—that prompts the restaurant to offer the chowder
in both of its popular stylings. This is where my New England
roots kick in, though, and I have to draw the line. The Maine
Legislature once tried to make it illegal to add tomatoes
to clams, but, in the end, you can’t legislate good taste.
Anyway, the fact remains that Manhattan should not be messing
with clams. I’m pleased to note that my daughter Lily voluntarily
shares my attitude, and thus ordered a cup of the New England
variety ($3). It’s creamy without being pasty, rich with clams
without seeming excessive, full of flavor without relying
on salt; and it includes a bit of celery peeking through.
It’s also available by the quart ($7).
I wasn’t so fortunate with my starter. Crabcakes were offered
singly ($3) or as a full-meal pair, and it proved to be a
packaged product. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what I expected,
and was certainly not comparable to what the restaurant does
with fresh stuff.
This was confirmed by the catch of the day. It’s offered as
a $10 meal, broiled or fried, and the day I stopped in it
was pollock. With a light cornmeal dusting and a quick, hot
bath in the deep fryer, it was as rich and tender as you could
hope a piece of fish to be. Accompanied by a house-made tartar
sauce and crisp fries, it couldn’t have been simpler or tastier—a
testament to fresh ingredients.
Eschewing my quest for variety, Lily settled on fried shrimp.
Again, it was cornmeal-dusted and quickly fried: a mirror
of my own meal.
We might have gotten away at that point, but we’d seen desserts
head to a neighboring table, singing as they went like those
other maritime creatures—the Sirens. The list of sweets includes
a few homemade items, among which were the butterscotch cream
pie and carrot cake we tasted ($4 each). Both adhered to the
textbook. The pie put forth an aggressive butterscotchiness
from a flaky, shortening-based crust, while the other was
formed as a sheet cake, generously topped with a sour cream
not a chef; I’m a cook,” said chef Brian Bracher with unneeded
modesty. It takes special skills to be a dab hand at seafood,
and it’s obvious that, with Bracher, you’re in very good hands.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
Springs offers waterside, wood-fired pizza at
the newly opened Harvest & Hearth (251
County Route 67) on Fish Creek. Saratoga residents
Peter and Gina Michelin have reopened the former
Chameleon on the Lake, now with a menu of handcrafted
pizzas, salads and desserts, with an emphasis
on the oven and fresh ingredients. The oven is
custom-built of clay and stone, following a classic
Roman design. The restaurant is open 4:30-9 Tue-Thu,
4:30-10 Fri-Sat, and noon-9 Sun. You can call
them at 587-1900 or check out harvestandhearth.com.
. . . Remember to pass your scraps to Metroland.