Villago (Ballston Lake) . . .ETA?
- financialdistrictresident Oct 6, 2013 05:51 AM
Yeah, tired is a good description, and not just of the decor. It was sad to see a business in decline like that. We've been anticipating the opening of Villago eagerly. Sandy said that, unlike Village Pizzeria, Villago will have a full bar, which we also take to be good news.
We ate at Villago last night, during their soft opening phase (but it's open to the public.) The Good Times has been gutted, so Villago is a dining room surrounding a bar, could use some work dimming the lighting a little. Very crowded, boisterously noisy. Full bar service, unlike the E Galway location, somewhat smaller menu (although maybe that's only until they get their bearings in the new place.) About a half-hour wait for a table, and then prompt and attentive service. Gorgonzola/pear/walnut salad, two four-cut pizzas, tasted the same as at Village Pizza. Once it settles down, this will be a great addition to the local scene.
Thanks for the report, PSZaas.
Good to hear the pizza is the same as Village Pizzeria.
I thought the openness of the room might contribute to the noise factor. Though, light and airy with lake views trumps tired and dark.
Just curious, what kind of crowd?
I wonder if they'll take reservations? We won't wait half an hour for a table.
I think they're open for lunch so I may go for lunch first.
We're looking forward to going.
re: Roger K
Very interesting indeed, Roger K.
You would think . . .I wonder how many people order split pies?
Sounds like they still have some kinks to work out or training/procedure issues ("Let me check on the pricing/upcharge of a split pie BEFORE you order.").
One less customer (& their friends) for me to compete with for a table :)
I was curious if they would draw a North Clifton Park crowd.
re: Roger K
Another post on Yelp mentions the muddy parking lot, which I have also experienced. Next time I go I'll wear my rain boots and carry my shi-shi shoes :)
Makes it challenging for the stroller and wheelchair folks.
Now that the "money pit" is behind them and they are in their "soft open" phase, I hope the owners will get it paved soon.
The lakeside wall of the restaurant is now glass (I don't remember if this is new, but I don't remember seeing the lake from the Good Times), and would provide a beautiful view. We ate on Friday night late, and there was no lake view to be had (although maybe they could light their dock?) Mostly local crowd, so far as I could tell; I recognized a few Round Lakers. The bar is available while you wait for a table, but I suspect the wait was a function of the night of the week and the novelty of the restaurant.
The menu is smaller than the E. Galway restaurant, more pub-grubby (burger, wings, salads, pizza, panini) but I don't know if this is the permanent menu they envision or not.
Not as extensive; this is not a wine bar like the other location tries to be. But it's still a pretty detailed wine list for what's essentially a lakefront pub; lots of good choices at decent prices. I drank hard cider. (My pizza was eggplant, calamata, and fontina cheese; don't remember fontina cheese on the Village Pizza menu. Was delicious.) They really make delicious eggplant.
Managed to find our way to Villago. They have been open for almost a week.
They don't take reservations, not sure if this will change in the future. Went at an off hour so parking was okay and the 1st floor dining room wasn't overly loud and crowded. Took a peak at the second floor dining room. A perfect place to have a private party. A few kinks need to be worked out but overall we had a very good experience.
Wine list is more limited than their Galway reastaurant. That said, reasonable wine mark-up.
We got there at dusk so we enjoyed the lake views and the fireplace (about all that remains from the former Good Times). As previously posted, ambience could be enhanced with dimmer lighting.
Music would also be a good addition (it was on and off while we were there).
We started with the arancini. Two large rice balls, nicely crisped and drizzled with pesto on a bed of marinara sauce.
We ordered two individual (4 slice) pizzas. One with hot peppers. Instead of hot cherry peppers they inadvertantly put fresh jalapenos. Our server asked if it was okay and we said no worries. The other pizza was fig, gorgonzola and arugula. Both were delicious and reminiscent of pizzas we had at Village Pizzeria.
We learned from our server they had problems with their pizza ovens this week. Can't imagine what a long week it has been for the owners and their family and staff. Sandy and her daughter Jessica were there.
We finished our meal with espresso, a sambuca and frangelico.
Our server was Janet. Service was cordial and professional.
We will definitely return and are happy to have such a good restaurant in Ballston Lake.
Gone back a few more times. They have cloth napkins and a few desserts now :) Bar stools are more comfortable than the blue, wood chairs. Lake views are still amazing.
Tried the fried calamari. Very good. Not too heavily breaded or overcooked. A few thinly sliced lemons were fried with the calamari.
One time my pizza crust was thin and another time medium. Otherwise, pretty consistent on the food front so far.
Can they clone Janet? She is everything a server should be.
Returned a few times. Always at off peak. Bar dining area can be lively, upstairs seems quieter. Music is good and lighting is dimmer. Luckily, no service issues. They had bread service the last time I went. Wish they had cloth napkins in the downstairs dining area, they did and then they didn't.
Good selection of wines.
I tried the crispy truffled artichoke hearts . . .delicious.
Arancini remains a favorite. Pizza crust was "medium" on recent visits. I prefer a thinner crust. Not sure what appeals to the masses.
I just posted the following last night...
I, along with many others, greatly anticipated the opening of this restaurant because I had read and heard so many good things about the pizza that they served at their other location in Galway, where I had never been. So after giving them almost two weeks to get use to their new surroundings, we decided to try them out on a Thursday evening. I agree with whomever said they needed better signage to tell you which door was the main entrance.
Our timing was quite good since we were able to be promptly seated and had a front window view of the Lake and the soon to be setting sun. Shortly after our arrival we saw the bar fill up with folks waiting for tables, and those who continued to arrive were being escorted to a second floor for additional seating.
Our server, Kristin, was young, perky, and flitting between her stations attempting to keep up with the onslaught of customers. She actually impressed us with how well she handled everyone.
Since their pizzas come in three sizes (4/8/12 cut) we decided to initiate our introduction with a small 4-cut as an appetizer, leaving room to try other items. We ordered the Calabrese ($10/$17/$23) – with fig, prosciutto, Gorgonzola , arugula, and balsamic reduction. Not only was this a very attractive looking pizza, it tasted delicious and went well with the Goose Island Red drafts ($5/pint) that we ordered. Kristin said we were smart to have ordered the pizza as an app because the kitchen was backed up with dinner orders and the pizza making staff were not as busy at that moment.
Always in search of a good burger, I requested their Signature Burger ($9.99) – a blend of short-rib & chuck on a brioche roll, with French fries and pickle. I also added horseradish cheddar cheese for an additional $.50. This was one of the few times that my requested medium-rare came out more rare. Luckily, I don’t have a problem with this, and it might simply be a demonstration of a rushed kitchen attempting to keep up with a backlog of orders. Overall, I’d have to say the burger was only average. The beef seemed to be lacking in flavor and much drier than expected for this blend of beef, and the horseradish also did not come across with its flavor. The coated fries were quite good however.
My wife ordered the Baked Rigatoni Melanzano ($15.99) – grilled eggplant with roasted peppers, tomato, and basil, baked with Italian cheeses. We both agreed that it was full of flavor and an excellent dish. We finished our first visit with coffee ($2.25) and every intention of returning again.
The patio is now open.
We went recently (15 minute wait for indoor seating) and SO had the featured short ribs with ravioli. He really enjoyed it. My description doesn't do it justice. Large portion, he took half home.
I had my favorite calabrese pizza without the prosciutto.
Looks like some sound/noise buffers have been installed on the ceiling. Still pretty lively when it's prime time.
Returned recently. We were seated right away, no wait.
We started with the crispy truffled artichoke hearts. SO had not had these before. One of my favorite appetizers.
We had the portabella mushroom pie. Based on the description on the menu we thought this might be a portabella in pastry. It looked like a globular mess. Also, it had artichokes under the cheese. If we knew it had artichokes we wouldn't have ordered it. Would NOT order this again.
SO had the eggplant napolitano "modern parmigiana." It was served on a bed of penne (they gave you a choice of pastas). Pasta was a little cold. They probably plated the pasta too soon. He really enjoyed the eggplant.
I had my favorite, calabrese pizza with fig, arugula, gorgonzola and balsamic reduction.
We had espresso, gelato and cheesecake for dessert. Very good.
Service was excellent.
We are happy to see Villago so busy. We wish we could go more often. It's a catch-22, usually they are so busy there is no place to park and we head to another restaurant!
The kitchen still neeeds to work on timing (we just enjoyed our wine while we waited for our appetizers) and pacing. We were only half way through our appetizers when our entrees came out.
Noise bafflers have been installed. Still loud.
Been back a few more times. Once alone, once with SO.
We've been lucky, though two of our friends told us service and food was inconsistent when they went.
When I went I had my favorite pizza and the aranciata. I could hardly eat the aranciata. Rice was under cooked, tomato sauce was cold, there was a blob of pesto on top of each ball. My server was very good. I don't remember exactly what I said about the aranciata but when she asked me if I wanted it wrapped, I said no pretty emphatically. I probably should have told her I didn't like it but she figured it out on her own (I only took 2 bites) and took it off my bill.
When SO and I went we had the fried artichokes app. Very good, a favorite, consistent. We decided against the aranciata since I had a bad experience and SO's friend did as well. We had the fried calamari. It was okay. A little too heavily breaded for my taste and SO said it could have been cooked just a touch less. It wasn't tough or inedible though.
We also had my favorite pizza and the eggplant pizza (at the suggestion of our server). The pizza crust has changed a bit. It started out thin (which we prefer) and evolved to a medium thickness. Loved the eggplant pizza! A new favorite.
We had tiramisu for dessert.
We love having such a good pizza place nearby. Only wish it was more consistent.