Albany John and I absolutely love the Epicurean. When we heard they were moving to Latham Farms in the old Vin Santo space we eagerly awaited their opening.
Tonight was opening night.
The husbear signed up for their email list and received notification that they’d be opening today, with a number to make reservations. He had his weeks confused and thought that this weekend was memorial day weekend. We’re going out of town memorial day weekend, and he decided not to tell me about the email so I wouldn’t get bummed out about the opening occurring while we were away.
It was a crazy week here, and we just figured it out last night. I read the new Epicurean Bistro menu and couldn’t wait to try it out. I figured we could show up early, and hopefully score a seat without reservations. Maybe a bar seat, or something like that.
We may have been the 2nd people in, and luckily there was no problem with seating! Hooray!
We opted for a seat in the bar area near the window. The light in the late afternoon/early evening was lovely. The Epicurean has made some changes to the interior of Vin Santo, but they’ve worked well with the existing decor. I think the tables might be the same. Minor changes, just enough to make it their own and simple. Little Epicurean-style touches here and there that said “Yes, this is the Epicurean,”.
Our waitress Darleen, who was coming back to restaurant serving from banquet serving, was absolutely lovely, in spite of any lingering opening night jitters that may have been. She helped create a wonderful experience, and I will be requesting her the next time I dine at The Epicurean. There’s something to be said for the innate, charismatic optimism of opening night – the air inside felt electric and sparkling with energy.
We’ve never ordered a bottle of wine before. Usually a glass or two, or some cocktails; but a bottle of wine opening night at The Epicurean’s new locale, after a week worthy of something just a little bit more… it seemed fitting.
Here we have the 2005 Eifel-Pfeiffer Riesling ($26). It was crisp and sweet, much like a ripe apple. Albany John, who isn’t much of a sweet wine guy, liked it quite much. Meanwhile I danced in my chair after the first sip. If you like sweet Rieslings, you’ll love this.
We initially thought we’d go in for some wine and appetizers to try some things out and lounge around a bit. However, after pouring over the menu, I soon realized that was not an option. Sometimes you have to go with the flow, and when the flow says “What does it taste like? Oh, order it!”, you listen.
Here is my Pissaladiere Traditionelle, featuring caramelized onions, anchovies, tomatoes, and kalamata olives ($12). I’ve been reading about pissaladiere lately, and was beyond delighted to find it. To draw a comparison, it’s kind of like a French pizza. Kind of.
It tasted delightful. Now, I am a woman who likes pungent, heavy, salty dishes. While this pissaladiere was ripe with anchovies and olives, all of the flavors melded together to complement each other. No one flavor overpowered the other.
The crust. Oh, the crust. I am in love. I will shout it from the mountains, “I LOVE PISSALADIERE!”. It was thinner than any other I’ve tasted, crisp, and yet still maintained a doughy chew without becoming cracker-y.
I am not one for soggy Neapolitan pizzas like Bacchus makes. No, I am staunchly in the ranks of French pissaladiere. Perfectly cooked throughout, and no sight of sogginess.
This would be a great appetizer to share with a group of people. Or one appetizer if you have very large eyes with a stomach to match.
Albany John ordered the Calamar a la Provençal ($8). Sauteed calamari with tomatoes, garlic, onion, lemon, parsley, and herbs in a white wine reduction.
Who needs fried calamari when you have this? It was a wonderful starter to whet one’s appetite. The lemon came through as a delicate end note, with sweet garlic, tomato, and onion as the primary flavors. Tender, soft, calamari with just the right amount of tooth to them. Some bread to sop up the delicious liquids at the end would have been nice addition. I sopped up some of the broth with my pissaladiere crust.
The Onglet a l’Echalotte ($22) quieted all of my demands for red meat I’d been having throughout the week. It was perfectly seared on the outside and came out wonderfully rare. The texture of the very rare center was akin to sashimi. Light, and almost melting.
I’d been eyeing the steak tartare, but was skeptical of the meat being ground. I was hoping for a chopped beef. It was more of a texture thing to me. Maybe next time I will try the tartare.
The beef was very beefy. I’ll have to ask where they source their meat. It was so full of flavor – I loved it. I normally don’t order been in a restaurant, but The Epicurean is no ordinary restaurant. The Epicurean’s foods are so well flavored, you won’t find yourself looking for salt or pepper. I am a salt fiend, but I never once thought to add anything else.
The Onglet also came with frites. They were well fried – not oily/greasy, very soft and full of potato flavor in the center. They came skin-on, and the skin parts maintained a crispness, but otherwise they were soft fries. I would prefer them to be crispy, but then again, they were delightful as-is. They came sprinkled with what I think was flaked sea salt.
The shallot wine sauce came in a little shot glass in the center. It might not look like much, but it was more than enough. Rich and full of flavor, I found it almost unnecessary given the flavor of the beef.
One of their specials of the day was a salmon dish featuring olives, capers, and cavatappi pasta. Albany John heard “Salmon” and “Capers” and he knew he had to order it. We hadn’t been expecting a pasta dish. We thought the pasta would be on the side, or it would be a piece of salmon over the pasta. However, once Albany John dug in, he found many more square pieces of perfectly cooked salmon throughout the pasta. It ended up being quite a generous serving of pasta, gently covered in a rich sauce.
Now, the salmon. Oh, the salmon. They maintained their shape well, and were cooked just enough to remain tender and soft while being fully cooked. The pasta was not al dente, but just a hair softer, which went well with the texture of the salmon.
And the price of this dish? $15. FIFTEEN DOLLARS. Opening night, and one of their specials was cheaper than all of their entrees (which are very affordably priced). We hadn’t asked and were very pleasantly surprised when we received our bill.
The total for our bill was $83 pre-tax, $89 after tax. It was a wonderful meal. The service was professional yet relaxed and convivial. The food was beyond reproach. These are some of the reasons I love the Epicurean: Meals that are created with passion, served with care.
I feel like a valued guest whenever I am at the Epicurean. Everyone is happy, it’s a good time. You need to visit The Epicurean in Latham Farms. You’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t.
The Epicurean is located in Latham Farms, Latham, NY. They will serve dinner through June 1st, when they will begin lunch service. Brunch service will begin some time after that. Call 518-786-8272 to check hours of operation and to make a reservation.