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Chianti (Saratoga Springs)

financialdistrictresident May 14, 2011 10:49 AM

Chianti gets a lot of love on this Board. SO likes it better than me. We both wish they would take reservations. So we found our way over to Chianti's again . . .

This is what I remember. Our server was excellent. We had a table in a corner and lots of noisy, loud people around us. I was grateful to be in the corner. Now on to the food:

The octopus carpaccio was excellent.

I really enjoyed the polenta and gorgonzola cheese with dandelion greens.

I had a pasta and seafood dish that was okay.

I don't remember what SO had, probably a fish dish. He usually gets a meat dish or veal.

I really want to feel differently about Chianti. Maybe it's better for meat eaters or I don't order the best dishes when I go. My few meals there have not been memorable.

I'll take the Italian food in Schenectady or Troy any day. Where is mother Ferro when you need her?

  1. financialdistrictresident Feb 17, 2014 06:11 AM

    My favorite DZ Restaurants are Pasta Pane and Boca Bistro. Have not been to Forno. That said, we returned to Chianti recently.

    This time we were seated in the middle room (next to the hallway with the wines). I've had dinner at Chianti only a few times and this location was far better than sitting in a corner near a faux, black tree. Noise was at an acceptable level even though restaurant was crowded and lively.

    We really enjoyed our dinner. Chianti has made some welcome changes since my last time here. The menu has more vegetarian choices (marked with a V) and also gluten free (G). Almost half of the pasta dishes are available as 1/2 order. Now on to the food:

    Bread service - only two of us had bread.

    APPETIZERS

    Raw oysters (Bluepoint) "special" - very good. Perfect with Prosecco.

    Root vegetable soup "special" - I didn't try it. Our friend said it was very good.

    SALAD

    Crispy fresh spinach with poached green pear vinaigrette, bourbon soaked raisins, smoked blue cheese and walnuts. Very good. The smoked blue cheese was particularly good. I've never had a smoked blue before.

    Roasted golden beets, crispy apple (very thinly sliced rings), orange juice and goat cheese. The presentation was simple and linear. Very good. I didn't share :)

    SECONDI

    I decided between a "special" (branzino), an antipasti and a pasta for my main. Nixed the branzino. Linguini with fresh baby clams, olive oil, garlic and crushed tomatoes OR sauteed mussels? I ended up having the sauteed mussels in olive oil and white wine in a saffron broth, drop of tomato sauce with a side of crostini (glad I skipped the bread service). Tiny mussels. So tender. I'm used to the large mussels. Very good.

    Our friend had the osso bucco "special." I think it was pork? He liked it alot.

    SO and another dining companion had the ? cheeks "special."

    SO also had carbonara. He said carbonara is so simple to make, but it's really hard to find good carbonara. Sometimes it's too wet and soupy. He seemed happy with his carbonara.

    We had espresso and shared a dessert. Something with pastry, ? (maybe cream) and strawberries. I had a taste and it was good.

    I still think Chianti has more choices for meat eaters. That said, I really appreciate all the new vegetarian options. The farro with butternut squash, hint of cinnamon, rainbow cauliflower, etc. prepared risotto style sounded really good.

    Service was excellent. Dave was our server. I didn't get the name of our busser but he was also very good.

    SO may be on to something re: Chianti and Sperry's . . .maybe I should listen to him more often.

    Chianti has been on opentable.com since Summer 2011 and they have a DZ Preferred Guest Card which is a must if you like wine, 10% off wines.

    3 Replies
    1. re: financialdistrictresident
      davmar77 Feb 20, 2014 08:51 AM

      forno hosts an open wine tasting with select dishes from each of their four locations with the chefs from those locations. i think they've done it twice now and is usually in early fall on a weekend afternoon. the ask only a 10.00 donation per person which goes to charity. if you are on the dz email list you'll get the notice shortly before it takes place. the offer about 60 wines to taste. we've been both times and it was very nice.

      1. re: davmar77
        e
        ELA Feb 20, 2014 01:39 PM

        That sounds like a nice event and good value, especially being for charity. Thanks for the heads up.

        1. re: davmar77
          financialdistrictresident Feb 20, 2014 01:41 PM

          Thanks, davmar77.

          Sounds good. I'll watch for the email this Fall.

      2. financialdistrictresident Jan 24, 2012 01:46 PM

        Found some of SO's Chianti leftovers in the fridge. Baby octopus in a red sauce with white beans. The octopus were cooked perfectly, even after re-heating. Very good!

        Opening my mind . . .

        1 Reply
        1. re: financialdistrictresident
          PSZaas Jan 24, 2012 02:59 PM

          That's my usual starter, followed by the grilled bronzino. Tuna carpaccio is good, too; there's a swordfish carpaccio, but I like the tuna better.

        2. h
          hanah Jul 25, 2011 12:19 PM

          Hi FDR - Just got an email from Chianti's saying that they have a limited number of tables that can be reserved through opentables. Going to 28 tables on Wednesday. Let's see if they have hiked the prices with the Track openning. That is one thing that Chianti has never done. I can't say that for the a lot of SS restaurants.

          Oops - I was commenting to your post at the top. When it posted it came to the bottom and I see you already knew about the reservation change. See ya...

          1. financialdistrictresident Jul 21, 2011 04:01 AM

            Chianti's will now accept reservations and is on OpenTable.com:

            http://www.opentable.com/opentables.a... 7:00:00 PM&scpref=110

            1. e
              ELA May 15, 2011 12:08 PM

              I think Chianti is OK. I am not familiar with any of the places outisde SS so I can't comment or compare. I never ranted and raved about Chianti, but others want to go, so I go. LOL. I am there during the track season, so I expect certain things. Yes, it's crowded, too crowded for me. I am not talking about the size of the crowd, but for my taste, the tables are too close together and the place is "cramped" so to speak. I think David Zecchini's efforts after he relocated were good -- menu, pricing, etc.

              The food IMO is OK. Nothing special. A few times my meal was OK to good. Nothing really memorable, but it was OK.

              I like Forno Bistro more. Yes, different kind of place I guess. There are other IItalian restaurants in SS, and of course they are different styles, types, etc.

              What other Italian restaurants in SS do you like? Thank you in advance.

              9 Replies
              1. re: ELA
                financialdistrictresident May 15, 2011 03:56 PM

                I have not been to Forno Bistro. I don't really think of SS when I want Italian food. I like 28 Tables. Gotchya's and Harvest & Hearth (pizza) on the lake for a casual, inexpensive dinner.

                Really looking forward to Capriccio Saratoga . . .

                1. re: financialdistrictresident
                  davmar77 May 16, 2011 10:54 AM

                  have you tried pasta pane yet in clifton park? i think we like it best of his three places. still haven't tried cafe capriccio but it's on the list so we are also looking forward to the new location.

                  sounds like it's time for a get together! :-)

                  1. re: davmar77
                    financialdistrictresident May 17, 2011 04:14 AM

                    davmar77, I haven't tried Pasta Pane yet. I think SO's been. I've been to Bellini's. We usually head to Schenectady, Albany or Troy for Italian food . . .A long thread on Schenectady Italian food:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/645569

                    PS The Montreal Board folks have hound get togethers :)

                    1. re: davmar77
                      PSZaas May 17, 2011 04:23 AM

                      We've been going to Pasta e Pane with some regularity, halfway between work and home. It has some of the good qualities of Chianti, friendly and attentive service, reliable cooking, a good bar, nice buzz. More of a neighborhood place than a destination, but a very welcome addition among the Clifton Park dining options. Zecchini has put a lot of thought into each of his restaurants, like 'em or not; he's tried to moderate his prices, contributes a portion of the proceeds to a series of charities, which he happily publicizes, gives attention to service and design. I'm very happy he bought the Lum's, years ago, and gradually turned it into the first Chianti.

                      A get together would be a fine idea; I think there are rules for how to organize 'em, though.

                      1. re: PSZaas
                        financialdistrictresident Jul 21, 2011 04:11 AM

                        Finally got to Pasta Pane. Liked it. Good value. Lively place, IMHO better around 8 PM. For Italian in CP much preferred over Bellini's (to be fair, only been a few times) or Wheatfield's (to be fair, been once).

                        1. re: financialdistrictresident
                          davmar77 Aug 8, 2011 07:53 AM

                          went to past pane last night. for my app, i had porcini crusted sea scallops with champagne grapes and almonds over an artichoke puree. the grape almond mix was cooked down kind of like a fresh cranberry dressing served warm with the scallops. it was out of this world. this restaurant never disappoints and they hit a home run with this dish.

                          1. re: davmar77
                            financialdistrictresident Feb 17, 2014 06:31 AM

                            A Pasta Pane thread:

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8110...

                    2. re: financialdistrictresident
                      financialdistrictresident Jul 21, 2011 04:22 AM

                      Capriccio Saratoga is open now:

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/795633

                      1. re: financialdistrictresident
                        financialdistrictresident Feb 17, 2014 06:23 AM

                        28 Tables, Gotchya's RIP.

                        Javier's is in the former 28 Tables. Not to be confused with Mio Posto (in the former 8 Tables before they became 28 Tables & Lanci location).

                        Reading this old thread reminds me how challenging the restaurant business is.

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