Even though I have only ever eaten there once, one my favorite restaurants (definitely one of my top three favorite fancy restaurants) in Saratoga Springs is Maestro’s. Kiyo and I went for dinner this winter and loved it (sadly I didn’t bring my real camera so these pictures aren’t very good, but bear with me, it’s worth it).
They start you out with sesame-poppyseed cracker and a white bean and balsamic dip, similar to hummus but chunkier and more acidic.
We shared the risotto arancini, deep-fried balls of rice. The sauce was pesto-based but I can’t remember any more specifics and they have since changed their menu. The arancini were warm and creamy after the first crispy, fried bite. The pesto cooled it off and complemented the cheesy-ness.
We also shared the tempura chicken meatballs, with pickled cucumber, sweet soy mustard and two skinny little bread sticks (this meal included a lot of bread items, but there were all so different it wasn’t noticeable). It was funny that our two appetizers looked similar, and it was so difficult to choose which one was better! The delicious pickled cucumber might have tipped the scale for me.
While we were greedily scarfing our appetizers, a server surprised us with bread baked with bacon and cheddar cheese; it was a bit confusing since we’d already had crackers before the meal began, but we definitely weren’t complaining.
Kiyo had his favorite fancy-restaurant dish, steak frites: marinated Harris Ranch Teres Major steak, fresh frites, mixed greens, and peppercorn dressing. The “frites” at Maestro’s were probably my least favorite item of the whole dinner, because they weren’t frites at all; rather, they were thick tater tots. They were still delicious, but everything else about the meal was much more unique and memorable, so I could have done without them. That being said, we ate all of them!
The menu item that caught my eye was the Saratoga Cheese Steak: shaved Angus rib-eye, roasted peppers & onions, Boursin cheese, and house made steak sauce, served with garlic parmesan frites. The garlic and parmesan cheese added some personality to the otherwise (as mentioned) forgettable frites.
The meat in my sandwich was so tender that it fell apart immediately, and the melted cheese was heavenly. The bread was so soft; actually, the entire sandwich was just juicy, melting perfection. However, after all the rounds of food I’d already eaten, there was no way I could eat more than half of the sandwich in one sitting. I took it home and after being heated up in the toaster oven the next day, it was still so good that I wished I had more!
The final touch that makes Maestro’s a memorable destination is that after the meal a server brings you a gigantic bowl full of broken dark chocolate bark, speckled with dried fruits and nuts, and you get to pick a piece. It’s a memorable, unexpected experience and I can’t image a better way to finish off the meal and the night than with a glass of red wine, and a rich, satisfying sweet piece of chocolate bark.
Maestro’s at the Van Dam
Location: 353 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Phone: (518) 580-0312