Lake George -- August 2008
I just spent a weekend up in Lake George -- crazed tourist mecca of the Adirondacks. (Actually, I spent it above Lake George, as I was staying at the B&B they have put in at the clubhouse in the Top of the World Golf Course). We dined well the three nights we were there, somehow defying the odds that we would -- at least one night -- be entrapped in a dire tourist trap filled with teenagers and rubbery pasta/seafood. So here are the experiences.
1. FARMHOUSE RESTAURANT. This is the restaurant at Top of the World, and it proudly features organicly grown vegetables and meat. Yum. Food is not especially complex, but it is all very good and very healthy. Sort of the restaurant equivalent of Whole Foods. The Garden of Spices Chicken was well flavored. Cobbler was out of this world.
If the simple crass of Lake George is getting you down -- go here. This is the antidote. Note, though, the antidote does come with a pricetag. Kind of like Whole Foods.
2. MARIO'S. This place has been around since 1954, and has the building and neon to prove it. With small modifications, it could have been "Mildred's" in Mildred Pierce. Seeing the big "breakfast buffet" signs in the wndow, I was apprehensive about the quality of the food. My instinct was to keep it simple -- and ended up with a pasta in vodka sauce from the specials menu that was really quite good. My wife had the Fettuccine Al Fredo that she enjoyed (it seemed somewhat bland to me). Both came with a good salad and ok bread. I expect if you live in the Tristate Region, this kind of Italian is no great thrill, but to us Atlanta residents, it seemed pretty good.
Assessment -- this a good place to have the Lake George experience, and get the kind of Italian you got in the fancy restaurant when you were a kid. Leave your expectations of creative Tuscan cuisine at home. The place itself is on the north end of town, a bit apart from the madness in downtown
3. TASTE OF POLAND. On Tripadvisor, you will find that this restaurant has a series of rapturous reviews from folks for whom English appears to be a second or third language. Knowing little about Polish food, I can't vouch for the authenticity that these posters claim. But I can agree that the food here is utterly wonderful, and the service instantly became warm and friendly the minute an interest in the cooking was expressed. Waiters were happy to make suggestions and provide tastes. (My wife mentioned she knew how to cook bigos. They provided a sample of theirs. Yum.) I ended up with the potato pancakes with goulash. They compared well with the goulash I have had in Budapest.
For desert, we split a giant plate of blintzes with strawberries and cream. This was sinfully good. And through the experience, I learned that my polish grandmother had been passing these yummy things off to her grateful grandkids as "crepes". Were they as good as Grandmother's? I can't say -- nostalgia plays tricks. But, likely, yes.