Table Talk: Cate’s Italian Garden
By Blaze Marshall
Sunday, January 23, 2011
When my daughter’s family comes north to spend the weekend or go camping on one of Lake George’s islands, a highlight is going out to dinner together. We usually let the grandchildren decide and regularly they say “Cate’s,” in unison. Quite an endorsement from teenagers who not only want to impress their friends, but appreciate more than burgers and fries.
So, we’ve been to Buddy and Cate Foy’s several times, reviewed it three times but never tire of the ambiance, hospitality and cuisine. This reviewer rates it in the “final four” along with Mario’s, The Sicilian Spaghetti House, and Panza’s in Saratoga Springs.
During the warmer months, Cate’s patio creates a garden atmosphere right next to Bolton’s busy sidewalk. A blackboard menu reveals the nightly special and front-of-the-house manager; Dawn Powers effortlessly juggles tables and seating, so don’t let the waiting throngs discourage you.
There are two separate dining areas inside and a cozy bar tucked in the back. A well trained wait staff hustles about and if Buddy is in-house, you are bound to get a hug and oft-times more.
Tonight our party of seven was seated promptly, given menus and assigned Ingrid as our waitress. Cate’s menu is extensive without being overbearing. Entrees are described in detail and range from two sizes of pizza to a host of appetizers including Mussels Fra Diavolo, warm mozzarella and tomato crostini to a wonderful antipasto.
Entrees include an elaborate selection of pasta combos including tortellini alfredo, eggplant parmigiana, baked ziti and Buddy’s pride and joy; lasagna. There is also veal, chicken, steaks and chops as well as a good variety of fresh seafood highlighted by John Root’s all-time favorite; Zuppe Di Pesce with mussels, clams, scallops and shrimp steamed in a fresh basil, tomato and garlic sauce.
On this trip both Fashion Plate and Mr. Curveball brought their friends, eager to show off their culinary choice. Unfortunately Kaitlyn will miss some of Cate’s ability to please, ordering simply chicken fingers. But she was very happy!
Fashion Plate, my remarkable in vogue granddaughter, opted for a bowl of fettuccine alfredo. Great flat noodles with a rich and creamy sauce. She ranks Cate’s fettuccine alfredo as “the greatest ever.” She did her best on the portion but half was going home for tomorrow’s indulgence.
The world’s no. 1 starting pitcher grandson and his friend Jimmy teamed up with orders of chicken parmigiana. A very plump, moist breast covered with fresh mozzarella, nicely broiled, with a side of spaghetti. No leftovers returning to Lake George from these two friends.
The Engineer Son-in-law, who has a very discerning and healthy appetite, was not disappointed with Cate’s garden special consisting of a boneless chicken breast sautéed with fresh mushrooms and topped with rich marinara sauce, baked ham and mozzarella. This dish is served with linguini tossed with olive oil, fresh garlic, basil and tomato. Fit for a king or engineer.
My Table Talk Secretary enjoyed Chicken Sorrentino sautéed with olive oil and layered with thin slices of imported prosciutto, battered eggplant, mozzarella over linguini and finished with Marsala wine. Nicely sautéed fresh vegetables accompanied her entrée. Daughter exclaimed this entrée as the finest one she has had yet in all of her visits to Cate’s.
I completed the raid on the chicken coop with Penne Ala Vodka, done al dente and tossed with Cate’s light, creamy vodka sauce dispersed with sliced chicken breast and fresh mushrooms. Desserts are equally great at Cate’s, but tummies large and small had no room. A testament to the quality and generous portions.
This trip north was yet another memorable experience for our family. Cate’s service is friendly, smooth, and unhurried. They never disappoint.
When I tire of writing this “dining out” column, I think I will recommend my grandchildren!!
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