The third in our Slow Food Saratoga monthly dinner series was held on Wednesday evening March 8th at the venerable and lovely Chez Sophie restaurant in Saratoga Springs. Chef owner Paul Parker (son of the original Chez Sophie chef, the beloved Sophie Parker) and his kitchen crew provided our convivium with an amazing meal at an unbelievable price while his wife, Cheryl Clark and her front-of-the-house team made everyone comfortable and welcome within the restaurant's elegant space.
Our largest event yet, over 50 people attended this dinner, many coming to one of our events for the first time along with quite a few repeat attendees. To provide additional atmosphere, pianist Cole Broderick even came in on what would have been his day off.
For a member price of $35 per person inclusive of tax and tip, Paul and Cheryl pulled out all the stops. The evening started off with a cocktail hour giving attendees a chance to mingle and relax before heading to the dining tables. Over drinks and wine (at additional cost), people made new friends and caught up with old ones while sampling some first class hors d'ouvres including:
wonderful mini crabcakes, full of delectable crabmeat with a crispy crust that only superficially resembled tater tots,
The guests took to the tables in several waves so as to not overwhelm the kitchen. The appetizer course, braised leeks and mushrooms á la Grecque, were ideal. Light and full of flavor, they made a nice segue into the main course after the bountiful hors d'ouvres.
I took advantage of the wine discount by buying a nicely valued 2003 l'Ostal Caze from the Languedoc, (an even greater value after the discount) to share with our table. A second bottle proved to be corked upon opening, but was replaced without a hitch.
Each guest was able to choose from 4 main courses, that included:
Wanabea Farm rabbit fricasée,
Dessert consiste of a genoise au grand marnier, which I enjoyed for its rich elegance and the fact that it was just sweet enough without venturing into a cloying realm.
The only hitch of the evening came at the end as the restaurant's computers had difficulty handling the special billing arrangements of the evening, backing up departures for a time. Nevertheless, the evening proved to be a resounding success as the attendees were treated to a remarkable meal at an even more remarkable value becoming acquainted and re-acquainted with this worthy restaurant in the process.