Chez Sophie Slowly

Chez Sophie Menu 3-09

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.

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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.

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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:

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wonderful mini crabcakes, full of delectable crabmeat with a crispy crust that only superficially resembled tater tots,

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elegant escargot in pastry that proved quite popular,

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scrumptious fresh sardines in white wine,

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and terrific pate on toast with gherkins and mustard.

I enjoyed my hors d'ouvres with a well-made Negroni, the best I've had since a perfect one at Bartollotta's in las Vegas in December.

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.

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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.

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Each guest was able to choose from 4 main courses, that included:

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Wanabea Farm rabbit fricasée,

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steamed fish (en papillote) with herbs, white wine and butter,

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and mixed grill of Elihu Farm lamb.

I had the lamb, which comes from a local farm that sells at the Saratoga Farmers Market. The mixed grill consisted of succulent, mild kidneys, a braise and grilled Morrocan scente riblets. Aside from the braise bein a bit salty to my taste, the flavors were outstanding. Serve alongside the meat were wonderful pommes purée, tender asparagus(hinting at spring around the corner) and baby carrots. I did not taste the other dishes, including a vegetarian "megadarra" of lentils, rice, caramelized onions, cumin and lemon (unphotographed as all around me were confirmed carnivores), though everyone seemed to be pleased with their selections. Usually at something like this I tend to wish that I had ordered whatever my wife or someone else at the table did, however, I was quite pleased with my selection on this night and spared no envy for my neighbors plates.

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.


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One Response to Chez Sophie Slowly

  1. Seth Rosner says:

    My first Slow Food event though not my first visit Chez Sophie; it was a wonder, beautifully and accurately described here by The Sconz!
    I’ll be back! – Seth Rosner, Saratoga Springs

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