September 12, 2012
Whoa Saratoga! Where’d your facelift come from!
There are now at least three new eating establishments downtown! Woohoo! There is a local food centered Comfort Kitchen that is a little bit out of the way, and has good prices… if your in NYC. No report on the food yet. There is also a new tapas style restaurant that is run by a Saratoga restaurant mafia or something. The food there has to be at least decent other wise the family wouldn’t be driving around in bespoke mercedes benzs…
BUT, the place that excites me the most is the new brewery and beer garden that is craftily tucked away down an alley. It’s called Druthers, as in, “If I had my druthers I’d…” I took my girlfriend there when we got back in town to check ‘er out. I’ll evaluate it in three categories I felt were most important to the place, 1) Beer Garden 2) Food and 3) Beer.
1) Beer Garden: A
Before Druthers came to be the plot it exists on was a small vacant lot inhabited by only scrubby plants and garbage. What they did with the space is nothing short of magic. The erected a beautiful timber-frame(?) building with a cobble stone … beer garden. Along one wall are some fairly comfy benches while along the other are cocktail table with awnings. In-between are tables and umbrellas for the sun etc. I think it really had a great atmosphere! Because it is in an alley and has the high walls of the buildings on either side, it has a feel somewhere in the middle of an outdoor patio and an indoor family style restaurant. The point is that it is a bright, airy, and exceedingly comfortable place to have a beer and eat dinner. What else could you ask for in a beer garden?What makes it even more awesome is the fact that they plan on bringing out fire-pits in the winter. My suggestion? Blankets would really bring that vision to fruition. Check out how this special Skiddie explains how great hygge is in Denmark, with the public blankets and all…
2) Food: A-
Nowadays it seems as though if you don’t have an exciting and fresh menu, you don’t have a chance. I believe, the Food Network has taken the foodie movement to a whole new level in the last 5 years. Shows like Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and Chopped (some of my personal faves) have shown people that they can realistically expect adventurous, and restaurant specific food instead of the regular hamburger with lettuce, tomato, and onion, for example. From what I saw on the menu, and from what we ordered proved that to me. For example, I had the “Something Sweet” burger. It’s a “marinated turkey burger with smoked pineapple, sweet potato chips, baby greens, heirloom tomato, and sweet roasted garlic aioli” It was totally fabulous. Pair that with a nice light beer and your set. My girlfriend had the burritos, and they left a little bit to be desired, but over all, well done. Check the menu out for yourself! (<– Click there)
3) Beer: C- (or worse)
I love beer. After living with two meticulous brewers and beer tasters, I have developed my own tastes in beer. For example, I love hops. Therefore IPA’s are my bread and butter. Some breweries focus on these hoppy beers, while others simply use them as fillers to round out their offerings. Within that range some produce incredible beers, while others just do it solidly. Druthers did not seem to be able to do that. I had their IPA and could not taste a single hop, it seemed. With each sip I searched and searched for the delicious bitterness, but it never surfaced. I had their hefeweizen next. Now, I am not a wheat beer fan by any means, and I ordered this beer by mistake as much as anything, but it was a step up from the IPA. It was done with some professionalism. Druthers has not been open for a full year, so perhaps it isn’t fair to judge their beers, but I was so disappointed that I had to be harsh. I look forward to the continued evolution of their product, let’s hope it evolves soon.
Over all, I would still go back to Druthers in a heartbeat. The food and the atmosphere contributed to an exceedingly enjoyable experience. What’s more is that Druthers offers an experience that no other place on Broadway or downtown can offer.