Overall rating on a scale of 1-10
Service 10 Food 10 Ambiance 9 Price – $$$
When selecting a craftsman or artist from the long lists of names and ads in the telephone book, we usually try to avoid the beginners, the apprentices and even the journeymen. To get the very best, we try to call instead upon a master of the trade or “maestro” of the arts. Who, after all, should be more knowledgeable, better qualified and most experienced to provide quality work and genuine customer satisfaction?
My wife and I faced a similar decision dilemma while strolling the streets of downtown Saratoga Springs recently in search of a quality restaurant we had not yet visited. There are dozens of fine and casual dining establishments to choose from, including diners, delis, pubs and pastry shops to ethnic specialty restaurants.
After perusing the menu options at various places, we looked back on the suggestions and recommendations of many friends and followed our “telephone book wisdom”. We chose to dine at an indoor table in Maestro’s at 371 Broadway where they “put the love on the plate”.
Maestro’s opened in May 2006 and is located on the corner sidewalk level of the beautifully restored Adelphi Hotel. The background jazz music, the dark, wainscoted autumn-orange walls and the intimate seating reminded us of a romantic Parisian caf. Once settled into the small and energized space we reviewed the extensive and colorful dinner menu prepared by Owner/Executive Chef John LaPosta (previously the executive chef and innkeeper at the Cambridge Hotel in Washington County). We were immediately welcomed by a complimentary amuse bouche of sesame flat bread served with a mound of white bean dip prepared with fennel and pesto. Next, we nibbled from a basket of warmed oatmeal bread, and several small slices of a delicious cherry-raisin cornbread served with softened butter.
The dinner menu is as varied as it is appealing and appetizing. I seized the opportunity to sip a glass of chilled Caposaldo pinot grigio ($8.50) while we surveyed the standard menu and shared a serving of Maestro’s own “Circles” appetizer. This dish presented pinwheels of house-made mozzarella filled with Serrano ham and sun-dried tomato, calamata olive tapanade with heirloom tomatoes and micro-arugula ($13). After some consideration, we ordered from the Prix Fixe menu which is available Sunday through Thursday 5pm-9:30pm. Each of the $25 offerings on this menu included a selection from several salads and entrees and two or three desserts. Although pre-established, this actually allowed for a few discounted choices and provided a balanced variety within the three-course dinner menu.
As I often do, I ordered a classic: Caesar salad with toasted brown croutons and white anchovies. Nicki chose the Maryland Crab Cake, which was included for a $2 supplement. It was beautifully presented with Cajun remoulade on wilted spinach and topped with pom frits and tomato fume. The Pork Flat Iron I enjoyed as my entre was every bit as good as any pork preparation I’ve had. This very ample portion of pork was extremely lean and tender, lightly seasoned and served with a subtle, pinkish-rose center and included buttermilk corncakes and black-eyed pea salad with lemon aiolli. Nicki swooned with every bite of the Grilled Swordfish she ordered. It was a lightly seared, tender, moist serving of Atlantic harpoon sword with roasted garlic bread pudding, local toy-box squash and salsa verde ($3 supplement). By now, we would otherwise have passed on dessert, but agreed to at least sample the third course of the Prix Fixe menu. From the number of treats prepared fresh each day, we shared a good-sized wedge of Chef John’s lemon cream cheesecake resting in a pool of warm lemon sauce. We also savored his pineapple bread pudding garnished with sliced strawberries, plump blueberries and topped with a heaping, landslide of thick whipped cream.
We were welcomed with a complimentary preface to our meal. Now, at the end, we enjoyed a large basket of homemade German bitter sweet chocolates. And, indeed, we did – a very nice touch from the “Maestro” himself.
Our bill for the evening was $76.50, excluding tax and gratuity.
Our dining experience at Maestro’s was truly a delightful one. We had made the right choice, indeed, from among Saratoga’s many fine, quality restaurants, and we’ll be sure to return soon.
Maestro’s is located at 371 Broadway, Saratoga. It is open seven days a week year round, serving lunch daily from 11:30am-3pm and dinner from 5pm-9:30pm. For information and reservations call 580.0312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frank W. Pidgeon is an educator/school administrator, freelance writer and winemaker who lives with his wife, Nicki, in Rotterdam.