LAKE PLACID A crisp fall evening brought us to the spectacular and stunning Lake Placid Lodge.
The original historic lodge burned to the ground in a horrific fire several years ago. It has been rebuilt in genuine rustic Great Camp fashion. Authentic log furniture. Precious antiques. Hand-hewn beams. Staircases with twig railings. Fireplaces all over the place. Real moose heads over the mantels. And the bathrooms are nicer than my entire house.
There are two dining facilities. The intimate Artisans Restaurant has an upscale menu that offers a seven-course tasting menu with wine pairing, if desired. We chose the more relaxed Maggies Pub.
Its a cozy wood-paneled room with plush armchairs, a big billiard table, shelves of old library books, a crackling fire in the massive stone fireplace, old trail signs on the walls and a very busy bar.
The menu consists of appetizers, cheese and charcuterie plates, homemade soups, sophisticated salads, sandwiches with a twist, local grass-fed beef burgers, a few light entrees and a nice selection of desserts.
We began with a flavorful tomato fennel soup ($10), thick and rich, the consistency much like a bisque. It was garnished with garlic crisps (sliced garlic quickly deep-fried) and drizzled with fancy imported olive oil.
Herb-lemon grilled shrimp with forbidden rice ($16) was super. Four very large shrimp (U-15s, if youre up on shrimp sizing) had great, subtle grill flavor. The forbidden rice (a black organic rice from China, rich in antioxidants) was enhanced with minced mirepoix (onions, celery, carrots). Perfectly cooked snap peas completed the plate.
It was tough deciding between the mushroom risotto fritters ($10) and seared tofu with mushrooms ($12). We went with the tofu and werent disappointed.
Two rectangles of seared tofu were stacked on top of each other and surrounded by a very tasty mushroom broth and assorted sautéed local mushrooms. It was absolutely necessary to sop up every bit of the broth with the little rolls and rosemary bread provided on the table.
Beet salad ($12) was very good. Diced young beets, local Asgaard Farm goat cheese and petite greens were dressed with a bacon and hazelnut vinaigrette. Our only criticism for being billed as a beet salad, it was a little short on beets.
Roasted turkey sandwich ($14) went from ordinary to extraordinary with a slice of ripe beefsteak tomato, crisp thick-cut smoked bacon, avocado mayo and a dash of aged balsamic vinegar. The homemade seasoned potato chips were excellent.
Smoked pastrami sandwich ($16) was equally good. Far from a traditional deli sandwich, Maggies version was served open faced, a baguette sliced lengthwise, covered with melted Swiss and caramelized onions, topped with piles of smoky, salty pastrami.
Fish and chips ($16) wasnt much different than youd get anywhere else. Fresh haddock was beer battered using Lake Placid Brewerys Ubu ale, then fried to a blond crispness and served with nothing-special potato wedges. Homemade tartar sauce had capers in it, a nice touch.
For dessert, pumpkin crème brulee ($8) was fabulous. This custard dessert was heavenly creamy, just enough sheer, crackly layer of caramelized sugar on top to make it brulee, finished with a dollop of delicious real whipped cream.
Instead of a hard-crusted candy apple, the caramel apple ($4) was an entire Granny Smith apple dipped in soft, buttery caramel. Neat! And the caramel didnt get stuck in your teeth like that candy coating would have, either.
An evening at Maggies Pub cost $120.72 before tip and beverages. A Saranac draft was $6.50 and a mixed drink $8.
Our waitress was great really knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating, delivering a well-paced meal.
Theres an exceptional wine list. The beer selection was well thought-out, with a good variety of imports and craft beers. Seemed like all the martinis being served at the bar were being shaken, not stirrednot the norm, since this would tend to make for a cloudy martini. Or bruise a gin martini. But maybe they were drinking margaritas in martini glasses.
The Lodge itself is over the top. You have to see it to believe it. Check the photo gallery on their website www.lakeplacidlodge.com or if your travels take you to Lake Placid, be sure to stop by.
You can contact restaurant reviewer Walter Siebel via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
at the Lake Placid Lodge
144 Lodge Way
Lake Placid, N.Y.
1 (518) 523-2700
A cozy, rustic pub in the newly rebuilt Lake Placid Lodge serving appetizers, homemade soups, sophisticated salads, sandwiches with a twist, light entrees and a nice selection of desserts.
HOURS: Lunch daily from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Dinner daily from 5. to 9:30 p.m.
OUR FAVORITES: Herb- lemon grilled shrimp, seared tofu with local mushrooms, tomato fennel soup with garlic crisps, beet salad with petite lettuces, smoked pastrami sandwich, pumpkin crème brulee