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Jul 24, 2009 07:30 AM

8 Tables Restaurant (Saratoga Springs)

I asked for fried chicken and ended up at 8 Tables Restaurant (in the former Lanci's space) after a glass of champagne at Doc's Steakhouse across the street.

First, the hostess (her name escapes me) is one of the most gracious people I have encountered. 8 Tables is a tiny restaurant (less then 20 tables?) and we did not have a reservation. They have 6 pm, 8 pm and 10 pm seatings. We were able to get a table at 8 pm. Service was attentive and friendly. This is a warm friendly place. Not because of the small size, but the people are so nice!

Second, let's get the space issue out of the way so I can get on to the food. The space is very small. It can be lively (loud). There is no place for the hostess and servers to stand which must be very awkward for them. We sat at the table next to the corner table by the door. I think the best seats are as far away from the door and kitchen as possible. Only downside is those tables are even closer to "THE TV." The big screen TV is very offputting. I was listening to Frank Sinatra music and there was a mouse movie on the screen. Enough said.

Now on to the food which was quite good. Interesting, there was no bread service. We started with a bottle of wine and some appetizers:


*Chicken livers - this was amazing. The bread was excellent and needless to say if I could have I would have licked the plate!

*Grilled eggplant - the grilled eggplant was good. It was layered with spinach and roasted red pepper. I did not care for this dish. SO finished it off and may have had a different opinion.


*Scallops with sage - I ordered this because the sage combination sounded odd and sometimes dishes that sound odd are amazing. This was good. There were 5 generous scallops, cooked perfectly. I probably would not get this again. Scallops and grouper (see below) were accompanied by rice/risotto and some delicious summer fresh green beans.

*Grouper with grilled peaches and cherries. This was amazing. I did not want to share this with my SO. I wanted to give my scallops away so I could devour his grouper. One of the most creative fish dishes I have had in a long time. The fish was cooked perfectly. Simple, yet delicious.

We did not try any meat (I don't eat red meat) or pasta dishes. Based on my observation of the table next to us the lamb looked really good and nothing was left behind.

The desserts sounded traditional so we passed. We finished with espresso.

SO is a very patient man because I tried to eat all his grouper (delicious!), sometimes he couldn't hear me (the place is lively and small), I was annoyed with/distracted by "THE TV" AND in my restaurant critic mode. . . That said, we will definitely go back. 8 Tables Restaurant's website and a link to the recent Times Union post follow below.

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  1. If it has 20 tables, why is it called 8 Tables. I was very put off by the high prices--high even by Saratoga standards. I was also put off by the 3 seatings, unheard of in Saratoga. Any comment on these issues? Also, the link to the T-U piece was to a brief blog blurb, not a review.

    3 Replies
    1. re: gerchak198

      Thanks, gerchak198. I wasn't aware restaurants don't do seatings in the Capital Region/Saratoga. Does that make 8 Tables the first? Interesting. . . I know it's challenging to find restaurants (not diners) that serve late, so I like their 10pm seating.

      I didn't count the tables . . . "(less then 20 tables?)" and wasn't aware of the name and number of tables connection. A neighbor told my SO about this place.

      I was REALLY in the mood for fried chicken and thought I'd finally get to try Hattie's . . .we took a quick look at the menu posted outside (to make sure it wasn't all red meat) and lucked out with a reservation. I didn't notice if the prices were posted or what they were. So dining at 8 Tables was a bit of a surprise for me. I have also been surprised that some restaurants in the Capital Region charge well over $20/$30 for entrees (Tosca, etc.) - what I even consider high in NYC. Maybe they can get it because there are less choices?

      My favorite restaurant remains The Wine Bar. The food is creative and delicious, you can control the price point based on how you order.

      1. re: financialdistrictresident

        If you want good fried chicken, you might want to try 51 Front Street Bistro in Ballston Spa.

        1. re: markabauman

          Thanks, markabauman. Their fried fish (catfish?) was quite good. I didn't know they had fried chicken.

    2. I just enjoyed a wonderful meal at the 8 tables restaurant just 1 1/2 weeks ago. It was a very intimate atmosphere and the food was phenomenal! The wait staff treated us like we were VIP. Their dessert with bananas (of all things) was absolutely amazing. I never heard of that type of dessert before, but definately worth a return trip!

      2 Replies
      1. re: tatrchip

        Thanks for the report, tatrchip. SO went recently and enjoyed his meal there. He also advised the TV was OFF . . .

        1. re: financialdistrictresident

          Last month Times Union reviewed 8 Tables:

          Getting a craving for those chicken livers . . .

      2. This has become one of our favorite dining spots in Saratoga Springs, when we can snag one of the 8 (!) tables. Italian-inflected cooking. Delicious, hearty dishes (a veal ragout one night, veal cheeks the next, hit the spot on these frigid nights. Owner/chef Ron Farber was part of the group that opened Dine, so far the service has been provided by various offspring of the Lanci family whose restaurant used to occupy this space. Prices are consonant with what else is available in town, entrees mostly in the 20's; wine prices moderate. Highly recommended.

        3 Replies
        1. re: PSZaas

          I both agree and disagree with PSZaas. The prices, especially for meat and fish entrees are NOT consonant with others in town (I've eaten at every resaurant in Saratoga): they are $30 and up. The pasta entrees without protein are in the mid-20s, which is very high indeed. That said, a friend and I ate there the other night and every thing was delicious and the service was impeccable but relaxed, not stuffy. The entrees (veal cheeks and chicken scarpiello [sp?] were huge, the appetizers, especially seafood risotto, were delightful. But, with just those 2 courses and a bottle of nice cab, was $75 per person with tax and tip.

          1. re: gerchak198

            My wife and I ate there last night and we couldn't be more impressed. We both had appitizers (sp.?); I had the Calamari (Red and Hot) and I don't remember what she had but she raved about it and I loved the Calamari. She had an entree with scallops, lobster and shrimp and I had a steak (it was called Cowboy or rustler or something like that, had to do with the West. This is what happens when you go to 9 Maple for 2 martinis before dinner). Anyway, my steak was one of the best I have had in I can't remember when. My wife raved about her dish (her only complaint was that they ran out of scallops, came out and asked if it would be ok to sub. more lobster and shrimp and she said ok). This morning she said the scallops were the best part but that all of it was great. We had 2 glasses of wine each and the above and the bill was roughly $132.00, incl. tip. I too, have eaten at most restaurants in Saratoga and I do not feel that the place was overpriced in the least, not cheap by any means, but I've paid that much and more at other places. The service was outstanding and we will def. go back. Oh, it's called 8 tables because that's how many tables there are in the place. Did not notice any TV playing but wasn't looking for it either. We had the table by door, which ordinarily we would have not preferred but they had a small heater between us and the next table and we were perfectly comfortable, to the point that when they asked if we wanted to relocate to another table when one became availabe, we declined. Just a great dining experience.

            1. re: gerchak198

              We walked into 8 Tables last night on a whim and stumbled into one of the best meals we've ever had, with excellent and friendly service. The place was not busy; I hope that was a fluke. I want them to stay. Yes, it's expensive. But we each had an appetizer, my husband had a pasta main course, and I had another appetizer for my main course, and we carried home enough for an entire second dinner tonight. I would be thrilled to go back and have for my dinner simply the Asian Tuna Nachos ($15). This was just a spectacular dish--crisp wontons, topped with Asian slaw, and chunks of sushi-grade tuna that had been barely singed on the outside and encrusted with sesame seeds, all topped with drizzles of a chili sauce and a wasabi sauce. It was heaven. My husband had chicken livers in port and truffle oil and was equally thrilled. Wines were $8-9 by the glass and we were encouraged to try one before ordering it. With the loss of the Springwater Bistro this is a welcome addition to the higher echelons of Saratoga restaurants.

          2. Does anyone know what's up with their website? Do they have a new URL? Or are they planning to be like a Degustation - no website, not on . . .

            2 Replies
            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              Looks like the 8 site is back to normal. SO had been more recently, I had not been since summer. We went this weekend. The food is still very good and the portions are huge. We had:


              *Chicken livers with port demi and truffle oil. Last time I wanted to lick the plate. They were still very good this time but not as fabulous as I remembered them the first time I had them. The grilled bread was also very good.

              *SO had a salad - roasted beets, goat cheese, candied pecans and greens with balsamic drizzle. Large portion, very good.


              *SO had the tuna with a spicy ? It was the size of a filet mignon. I had a taste and it was very good.

              *I had the duck with a rasberry sauce (I think). Very good. Cooked perfectly. Huge portion - enough for 4.

              This place must be heaven for meat eaters - huge plates with lamb, veal, steak, etc. went by and looked amazing.

              We ordered a side of risotto and it had so much garlic we could not eat it. I generally don't order risotto out because SO makes amazing risotto.

              We passed on dessert.

              The big screen TV was off. The space is small (only 8 tables) and it can get noisy. We had a large, lively table next to us, someone at another table was talking (and cursing) loudly. It was hard for us to have a conversation. I think SO got a headache. The food is very good, portions are huge, service is excellent.

              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                I forgot to mention the wine list. It's limited, about a page on the back of the menu. Nice to see many reasonably priced bottles.

                Also, 8 Tables has a thick curtain up near the entrance (unfortunately no double doors and not much of a foyer) so diners stay warm (or try to in my case).

            2. We went to 8 Tables last night for the first time and had a great meal. This place will be on our regular rotation from now on.

              On Tuesdays they do a Tapas/small plates menu and every dish is $8. The portions were pretty large for Tapas. My SO and I each ordered 2 dishes and walked out very satisfied and feeling like we got a good value. It was a fun way to sample several items from their standard menu. The Tapas Tuesdays will end once track season starts.

              Have to second @kkkat's raves for the tuna nachos. Everything was delicious, but that dish was a big standout!

              2 Replies
              1. re: bdegregory

                sounds very good. between this and the wine bar, we'll have to add them to our to do list. still being somewhat new to the region, about 1-1/2 years now, we are still hunting for good places so this board comes in handy. being non-meat eaters it can be a little tough but we find most places are accommodating.

                1. re: davmar77

                  8 Tables is definitely better for meat eaters. That said, I only eat poultry and fish and have never had a problem finding something to eat there . . .