by: B.A. Nilsson
Right Sort of Resort
The Sagamore, 110 Sagamore Road, Bolton Landing,
1-800-358-3585 or 644-9400. www.thesagamore.com. Serving dinner
Mon-Sat 6-9. AE, D, DC, MC, V.
Cuisine: American contemporary
Entrée price range: $29 (pan-roasted turkey) to $33
(lobster and foie gras combo)
Ambiance: elegant and restful
Clientele: discriminating travelers
Given the luxury of the environment here, the shoulder season
is distinguished mainly by the comparative lack of people.
Which suits me fine, although I was worried that it might
compromise the quality of service.
No need to worry. The Sagamore maintains a reputation as one
of the area’s finest hotels through fanatical attention to
detail, and this includes any meal you enjoy at the resort.
When we approached the Trillium, the top-of-the-line dining
room that is one of two flanking the main hall, we were recognized
at the reservations table and handed over to Henri, the maître
d’, who glided us through the salmon-colored room to a table
set in anticipation of my threesome.
Nothing stuffy about the process: It was practically transparent.
As we studied menus, a tux-clad server shimmered to our side
and noted some specials. I ordered a glass of wine and we
Homemade bread arrived shortly, a variety of rolls and slices.
An amuse-bouche followed, a getting-started taste of
a creamy salmon concoction that we spread on accompanying
That’s all very well, you’re saying. You were there in May.
What’s it going to be like in August? We saw the staff deal
with the unexpected in a way that assures me there’ll be no
problem even at the height of the season. A crowd of folks
from The New Yorker were weekending at the Sagamore
while we were there—we saw them muscling their way around
a fitness course, suggesting they were from the advertising
side of the magazine, not the editorial, unless writers have
changed in recent years.
Something about the group’s arrival at the Trillium suggested
they weren’t expected, at least not in such numbers. Small
discussions erupted among the staff, with Henri calmly outlining
service strategies. It was the tiniest glitch, hardly discernible
as such, and then it was absorbed into the smooth fabric of
the restaurant’s service style. I wish any restaurateur running
or contemplating a fine-dining establishment would experience
this place in full swing. It’s the definition of excellent
The spring menu reflects chef Tony DeStratis’ skill both with
using seasonal material and fashioning it in a way that’s
different and palate-pleasing. He’s a 10-year veteran of the
kitchen at Mohonk Mountain House, another superior resort.
From a handful of starters we selected a plate of fresh, and
I do mean fresh, heirloom tomatoes with handmade buffalo mozzarella,
seasoned with basil and served alongside grilled leeks ($11).
Jo’s Pho ($11) is a dark, rich broth ladled at table side
over a bowl of soba noodles and slices of shaved beef tenderloin.
Excellent compote, although the noodles do not come out of
the bowl gracefully. Bib yourself first.
Lobster and avocado croissants ($14) present a build-it-yourself
dish of those ingredients, served cold and accompanied by
a tangy aïoli and tomatillo jam. Nothing like that mix of
the cool and the spicy to awaken the palate.
Pan-roasted “filet mignon” of turkey ($29) turns out to be
a breast of a young bird that’s cooked to order, emerging
with a steak’s juiciness but appealing to a red-meat-hater
like, oh, let’s say my wife. The meat itself had sweetness
enough to make anything like cranberry sauce superfluous,
and here it’s served with mushrooms and leeks, pancetta and
shallots, with some sautéed fiddleheads filling out the vegetable
Although the fava bean falafel accompanying the grilled Hawaiian
ono (wahoo) was a selling point for that dish, my daughter
finally opted for steamed New Zealand salmon ($30), which
arrived pink and pliant and perfect, winning her trust enough
to lead her to try the gingered parsnip purée and lemongrass-infused
coulis of English peas.
Argentinean-style mixed grill ($31) is a way to get your filet
mignon fix with some contrasting flavors from the grill—in
this case, breast of poussin, which is a very young
chicken, along with sausage made from rabbit meat. The beef,
a superb cut, dominated the mix, but the sweetness of the
chicken filled in a flavor area, and the sausage, with the
lively bite typical of good charcuterie, rounded it all out.
And, of course, what the grilling brings out also was a boon.
Garnishes included a chimichurri sauce, native to Argentina
and made from garlic and parsley, lemon juice and olive oil,
as well as a blend of root vegetables and the string beans
and baby carrots that graced each plate—plus mashed potatoes.
To simply list those elements hardly begins to describe them,
but the description risks monotony. They couldn’t have been
better prepared or more simply and nicely presented.
Desserts are equally incredible, represented for us by a chocolate
coffee cup containing tiramisu and a pyramid-shaped chocolate
marquis ($8 each).
The hotel offers an abundance of dining opportunities, with
a summer buffet in the main dining room where, as a hotel
guest, you’ll enjoy a buffet breakfast while enjoying a glorious
view of the lake. Mister Brown’s Pub is for more casual fare,
where an Adirondack theme is complemented by an abundance
of TV screens—but the fare is light-years better than most
pub grub. The Veranda offers a menu of sandwiches and a daily
tea-time ritual, and from there it’s a short path down to
the boat dock, where you can lounge at lakeside. And if golfing
lured you to the resort, with its world-class Donald Ross-designed
course, you’ve got the adjacent Club Grill.
Wherever you choose to dine, there’s a comfortable feeling
of being taken gently in hand and guided through a meal that
will be a surprise and delight, and that’s really what fine
dining and resort relaxation are all about.
the seventh year for the annual Sinatra tribute
at Nicole’s Bistro at the Quackenbush House
(Clinton Street and Broadway, Albany), and once
again you’ll enjoy a re-creation of the singer’s
favorite dinner even as vocalist Ed Clifford re-creates
Frank’s favorite songs. As served at Jilly’s Restaurant
in Manhattan, Cucina Sinatra includes a
cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres, a first
course of littleneck clams with roasted peppers,
rigatoni arrabiatta, insalate verde,
then a veal scaloppine alla Milanaise.
To finish, cassatta Palermitana, a rum-soaked
cake with a ricotta filling and chocolate glaze.
Each course is paired with an appropriate wine.
The dinner is $100 per person, which includes
wine, spirits, music, tax and tip, and it starts
at 6 PM Thursday, June 17. It’s a lovely event—especially
if the weather allows outdoor seating—and worth
booking early. Call 465-1111 for reservations.
. . . Remember to pass your scraps to Metroland
(e-mail to email@example.com).
fax info to 922-7090)
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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..