Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hattie’s Restaurant – Saratoga Springs, NY

Posted by NabiscoMan's Wife

After an initial visit several years ago (while still known as Hattie’s Chicken Shack), my husband and I recently paid two trips to Hattie’s Restaurant in Saratoga Springs, NY. One could believe the restaurant has changed little from its opening in 1938 apart from the multitude of photographs and clippings that adorn the walls, as the inside of the establishment is very utilitarian and somewhat rustic. On both visits we arrived early enough not to wait for a table, but the restaurant filled up quickly past their 5 pm opening time. Tables are very close together, and the atmosphere is quite “communal”.

On our first visit my husband ordered the jambalaya as an appetizer, and we both ordered Hattie’s famous fried chicken ($14.95). Meals are served with homemade cornbread, biscuits, and a mesclun salad with a curious sweet dressing: seemingly just sugar water, but still tasty. The fried chicken came with a choice of two sides, and we both chose the sweet corn-on-the-cob, which was excellent. My second side was tasty and unique cranberry coleslaw, while NabiscoMan chose the mashed potatoes. While the fried chicken was good, I did not find it exceptional. Perhaps I am not a good judge of these matters, but nothing will beat my grandmother’s fried chicken. The quantity of chicken was prodigious, though, allowing me to take a doggie bag for lunch the next day. I rather preferred the cold, leftover chicken the subsequent day.

On our second trip, neither of us got the fried chicken again. My husband got the jambalaya as an entrée while I got the catfish pan fried in seasoned cornmeal (both $16.95). NabiscoMan thoroughly enjoyed his dish while I found the catfish to be rather flavorless; this is a bit of a role reversal for us. We also tried the Louisiana Crab Cakes appetizer, which was very tasty, if a little greasy. I ordered the same two sides as before, although the sweet corn was not quite as good as the first time. The quantity of food was again more than adequate, causing us to forgo our usual Saratoga dessert of gelato.

No doubt we will make a return trip to Hattie’s but I would like to wait until its limited menu changes as it seems the colder months feature tempting comfort food like Chicken and Dumplings and Macaroni and Cheese. Hattie’s is definitely worth a trip to experience a Saratoga legend and ponder how the racing town must have been in the 30s and 40s.


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