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Aug 14, 2014 04:45 AM

Next Door Kitchen and Bar, Ballston Spa

The folks who own the friendly Front Street Deli two doors down have opened an upscale joint Next Door Kitchen and Bar, in the space that was formerly Strata, and formerly 51 Front Street Wine Bar and Bistro. We've eaten there twice, pleasurably. Cosmetic changes have improved the room, which always seemed crowded in the former restaurant, cool lighting, and a full bar, featuring New York beers, wine, and spirits. (Had an excellent perfect Hudson Manhattan Rye manhattan). Small menu, with several fish preps, nice run of specials. I had the trout off the menu instead of the Arctic char off the specials, and was happy with my selection, served with smoked-trout cream and grain mustard. Betty's enjoyed the steak sandwich, and a very good burrata Caprese salad. Middle-expensive, so two cocktails, two glasses of wine, two mains, one dessert set us back $150, including the tip. Terrific service.

Next Door Kitchen pays homage to the former restaurants in the space, with a number of Mediterranean preps (preserved lemon and olive, say) for Strata, and the fried chicken that put 51 Front on the map originally. A nice touch.

Menus here: .

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  1. interesting menu. we shall put it on the go to list. thanks for the heads up.

    1. we ended up there friday night last minute. no reservations and they were full up but we sat at the bar. we really enjoyed everything a lot. these guys could give mio posto and javier's a run for their money.

      6 Replies
      1. re: davmar77

        davmar77, what did you have?

        How was the noise level?

        Per TU:

        The few comments are positive.

        The Yelp perspective:

        A couple of the photos don't look appealing (tomatoes look store bought, not like Summer tomatoes and pasta looks like it's drowning in sauce).

        We miss Strata. Went there often. Will give Next Door a try. . .

        1. re: financialdistrictresident

          for starters-

          I had the crab cake with kimchi. good size with very little filler and the kimchi was not overpowering

          my wife had the duck confit

          we also split the arugula salad with goat cheese and blueberries

          next up-

          I had the pan seared rainbow trout with smoked trout cream and mustard seed relish

          my wife did a couple of the small plate options; the poblano pepper with corn and quinoa which she loved and the crab fettuccini made with zucchini ribbons in place of pasta

          for desserts-

          I had the peach & blueberry crisp

          my wife had the goat cheesecake with strawberries and rhubarb

          everything was really great. we're hoping to get back there soon. I thought the noise level was ok especially considering we sat at the bar.

          1. re: davmar77

            Thanks so much, davmar77.

            The poblano pepper sounds really good.

            We'll report back.

            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              We went to Next Door recently. As previously posted, cosmetic changes have been made, including new lighting. The ceiling is new, wood beams, surrounded by copper trim. One wall has reclaimed barn wood. There is an interesting use of mirrors on the ceiling above the entrance so diners near the front of the restaurant can view the plants.

              Now on to the food.


              Fresh burrata with pepperonata (roasted peppers), smoked almond, parsley. I think the parsley was crispy or fried. Very good, though I would probably not order this again.

              Cornmeal fried green tomatoes, pickled peppers, micro greens, green goddess dressing. Very good.

              Crisp duck confit grilled radicchio, fresh peach, pistachio, scallion, balsamic. One of my favorite dishes. Can't wait to have again.

              SO had the gazpacho special. It was pureed, not chunky. Very good. Another favorite.


              SO had hand rolled gnocchi with basil pesto, heirloom tomato, green beans, grana padano. I tasted it. Very good. He was very happy with it.

              I had the smoked corn and quinoa stuffed poblano pepper, goat cheese fondue, fried zucchini, red mole, pepitas. Another delicious dish. We both loved it.

              We also had wine, coffee (no espresso yet) and a dessert sampler (3 desserts).

              Service was excellent.

              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                I'm hoping that this place will serve the same role in the 'hood as the late, lamented Bloomers. It's a little different vibe, but a similar spot for a very happy evening.

                1. re: PSZaas

                  It felt somewhere between a Strata and a Bloomers. We had a great experience.

                  Pricing and menu is smart.

                  Thanks so much for your post , PSzaas.

      2. We've been back a couple of times since I posted this; really enjoying the chicken-under-a-brick which seems to be a consistent special. Learned last night that the rye offerings were expanding, always a good sign. This is the friendly, neighborhood place that the area has long needed.

        1. The new TU Food Critic is cutting her teeth on the Next Door Kitchen & Bar.

          And seems very pleased.

          1. Took a group this evening: a 6-top was available on short notice, but every table otherwise was full. We'll return: the only small downside was a slightly uncurated beer list (almost all light-end, limited selection). Otherwise good: _very_ good bean puree with bread, the touch of lemon adding a lot, followed by some really excellent duck confit and parsnip chips. Ribeye was competently grilled if not the world's best piece of meat; the grilled broccoli that came with it was excellent. Others at the table had pork schnitzel or salmon or a very moist, tender pork chop; no complaints. Only the presence of a 13-month-old in the party stopped us staying for dessert; the red wine flight was also well chosen and reasonable value at I think $12 for 3 decent pours. Dinner for 6 with sparkling water and some drinks came to $188 including tax.