Photo by: B.A. Nilsson
Pinehaven Restaurant & Caterers
Pinehaven Country Club, 1151 Siver Road, Guilderland,
456-7111 ext. 132. Serving lunch and dinner Thu 11-8, Fri-Sat
11-8:30, Sun 11-7. AE, D, MC, V.
Cuisine: American with surprises
Entrée price range: $11 (chicken parmigiana) to $17
(New York strip)
Ambience: spacious and pleasant
Clientele: good sports
I were a Pinehaven Country Club member, I would view this
influx of outsiders as a grim, unpleasant phenomenon. I’m
misanthropic enough to resent seeing people admitted free
into the club to which I pay membership dues. Yet as a nonmember
who recently paid a couple of visits to the club’s restaurant,
I have to commend those I encountered for being utterly charming.
Not that it was old home week or anything, but my fellow diners
were far more friendly to me than I would have been to them.
Open to the public for dining for just over a year, the restaurant
offers late-in-the-week lunches and dinners in one of three
pleasant, golf-themed areas. You may find the hemispheric
sunroom most attractive, with its ring of tables surrounding
the bar and several TV monitors in view; there’s also a smaller,
more formal room a couple of stair-steps up.
At my daughter’s insistence, however, we sat near the fireplace
in the third room, a fireplace flanked by trophy displays.
It’s the kind of room—it’s the kind of place—where you think
in terms of old-fashioned fare, and I was hankering a steak.
They offer a 12-oz. N.Y. strip for $17, a 20-oz. sirloin for
$16, the former with an onion marmalade, the latter with parmesan-garlic
But lamb was one of the specials, a Moroccan rack of lamb
with a green olive and tomato relish, served over a charred
tomato coulis ($22). Fancier than what I think of as country-club
fare, but that’s only to the club’s advantage. It arrived
as a good-looking, no-nonsense plate dominated by the meat,
four two-bone cuts arrayed atop the coulis and topped with
the relish, and alongside was a fat pancake of onion-y mashed
potatoes shaped into a patty and fried, and a side serving
of sautéed squash and carrots, buttery enough to claim attention.
Each of the entrée plates was similarly dressed—potato pancake,
side of squash—and suggested a chef with enough self-awareness
to recognize his own skill without needing fussy presentations
to underscore it. In this case, it’s Brian Wagner, a graduate
of Schenectady County Community College’s renowned cooking
program and a veteran of several noteworthy area restaurants.
His dinner menu puts those much- preferred chicken-based entrées
on the first page, five different preparations priced from
$11 to $15, including pasta-accompanied, Marsala-moistened
and cheese-topped versions. Chicken chasseur ($15) got the
classic French sauce of mushrooms and shallots in a demi-glace,
just a touch saltier than I prefer.
A market-priced catch of the day was scallops, a generous
serving that was cornmeal breaded and deep fried ($17), a
good way to make up for the reduced flavor now allowed by
the seafood industry. Traditional fish and chips is $11, featuring
ale-battered haddock; pasta primavera is $12; and an Asian-scented
pot roast is $14. Pork, veal and other seafood items also
Entrées include a salad, upgradable to a very nice Caesar
for $1.50; the house salad, while a good blend of unusual
greens and familiar vegetables, had been refrigerated for
a while after it was plated, with the resultant loss of moisture.
Appetizers are more conventional, with soup (French onion
among them) and chili leading the way. Bar-food favorites
like mozzarella sticks ($5) are available, prepared and served
exactly as you’d expect. The stuffed portobello ($7) is a
single large cap with a filling based on sun-dried tomatoes
and parmesan cheese, far more complex in flavor than the usual
version. And the quesadilla ($7) is almost a dinner portion
in itself, filled with chicken and cheese and served with
sour cream and salsa.
Brenda and Gary Stevens took over the food service here a
couple of years ago, enhancing the menu and opening the restaurant
to the public. Catering is also offered, with banquet facilities
on the premises, and if the attention to detail is as good
as we experienced, I’d keep this place in mind.
We also explored the lunch menu, starting with a terrific
pork-and-white-bean soup ($2) and enjoying one of the better
burgers I’ve sampled ($5): a half-pounder that you can enhance
as you wish, with hand-cut fries for an extra dollar. Lunch
salads include a grilled chicken Caesar ($6.50), upon which
the sliced chicken breast is marinated and really grilled
and far tastier than what you’re served in the chain restaurants.
Lunch options also include a variety of sandwiches, priced
in the $5 range, club sandwiches for $6.50, and a few entrées,
such as those chicken quesadillas, an omelette platter, or,
for $15, a sirloin.
Note that the tip, calculated at 17 percent, is written into
your bill, a longstanding club policy and one that more restaurants
should adopt. It’s hard to figure what’s worse in our culture:
math skills or dining-out savvy, and the service at the club
warrants decent compensation.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
a friend we have in cheeses,” rhapsodized poet
William Cole. More and more farmstead dairies
are making fine cheeses, and to recognize this
trend, the Regional Farm & Food Project
is hosting Cheese and Libations: A Spring
Pairing Party from 7-9:30 PM, Sat, March 20, at
the North Pointe Cultural Arts Center on Route
9 in Kinderhook. The event will celebrate the
Spring Equinox with a fine array of New York state
farmstead cheeses and New York state artisan wines.
Cheese and Libations is a benefit for the RFFP,
a nonprofit membership organization that fosters
sustainable agriculture and connects farmers and
consumers in 12 counties of eastern New York.
The party features a wine and cheese tasting led
by Susan Sturman of Port Washington, N.Y.-based
Epicurean. Music will be provided by pianist Adrian
Cohen, and the evening also will include hors
d’oeuvres, desserts and a silent auction. Tickets
are $20 for RFFP members and $25 for nonmembers;
send your check or money order to RFFP, 295 Eighth
St., Troy NY 12180. Tickets purchased by March
12 will be entered into a drawing for an assortment
of New York wines. Tickets will be held at the
door. For more information, contact M.L. Healey
at 271-0744 or email@example.com. . . . Cooking
classes with chef David Lawson have resumed at
Aubergine (Rts 22 & 23, Hillsdale,
www.aubergine.com) on Thursdays during most of
the coming weeks. “An Italian country lunch” is
the theme March 11; April 8 features favorite
recipes from the Roux Brothers and London’s Le
Gavroche, while April 15 will be a French
regional event: a culinary tour of the Loire Valley
and the Sologne. Classes run from 10:30 AM through
the conclusion of lunch (around 2 PM) and cost
$75 per person, which includes materials, lunch,
wine, tax and tip. Call the restaurant at 325-3412
for more information. . . . Remember to pass your
scraps to Metroland (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org).
fax info to 922-7090)
want your feedback
you eaten at Pinehaven
Restaurant & Caterers,
or other recently reviewed restaurants?
Agree or disagree with B.A.? Let us know what you think...
one of the things I usually like about B.A.'s reviews,
that was missing here, is that he often brings his family,
specially his child to these meals and includes their
dining experiences in his columns. As a parent who is
always looking fo kid-friendly places that also serve
good food that I'd want to eat, so I especially enjoy
"his take" on what his daughter orders and
how she likes it too, as well as the entire dining experience...
have never been to Ogdens but look forward to the dining
experience. B.A.,,your review leaves me anticipating
a delicious dining experience. Thank you for the suggestion,
it is fun to try new things and I will let you know
how I liked it,although, as usual, I am sure you are
right on the mark.
me again B.A. The Chain Restaurant loving fat guy who
loves big, heaping helpings of prepared, marketed fried
things. Even Chicken Fingers.
could care less about Daniel's at Ogdens to be perfectly
honest. I read the review mostly because my office stares
right at it's front door and we all watched as the refurbishing
was done. My problem here today is with your first two
kind of news article that bugs you is what percentage
of Americans spend 30 minutes or less preparing food!?!?
You know what kind of news article bothers me? "Remains
of a woman found stuffed in a barrel......" or
"....Albany Police Lt. dies from injuries sustained
in shootout with suspect." I realize food and it's
service and preparation may be the all consuming obsession
in your life, but please tell me you have a bigger heart
the reason "44 percent of weekday meals in the
U.S. are prepared in 30 minutes or less.." is that
some people work 2 or 3 jobs. Some people may be a single
parent with young children, who may only have less than
30 minutes to spare.
I promise you this, the next time I get 35 minutes or
so.........I'll order some Kobe Beef, puff pastry, shitake
mushrooms and the ingredients to make a proper buerre
blanc....dim the lights, put on a bowtie, apron and
plenty of snotty attitude and invite you over for dinner.
Chicken Fingers ok for an appetizer?
really love this guys knack for picking "the best
kept secrets" in the Capital District. Way to go
B.A.! Keep up the good work!