Mamatoga Review: Brunch at Sperry's

I have been a longtime fan of Sperry's Restaurant, when you walk into this classic establishment at 30 1/2 on Caroline Street you feel like you're stepping back in time and for good reason. Sperry's was founded by Charles "Chubby" Sperry and his wife Catherine "Cappy" Sperry in 1932. It was opened just before Prohibition ended and it is rumored that Sperry's operated as a speakeasy until Prohibition repeal when it then became a full fledged restaurant. Incredibly, Sperry's has had only 4 owners since opening in 1932: The Sperry's; Greg and Sheila Seifkir; John Rockwell and Chef Ridge Qua (and later his brother David); and current owners Christel and Colin MacLean. The MacLean's bought Sperry's in 2010 and reinvigorated the restaurant with the addition of Certified Master Chef Dale Miller. Up until this weekend I had only been to Sperry's for dinner and drinks, and I have never been disappointed, but I was very excited to try them out for brunch since it is of course my absolute favorite meal. Chilly and overcast on Sunday, I was happy to be ensconced in one of their red leather booths in the Tavern Bar Room, surrounded by mahogany paneling and dozens of fun black and white horse racing photographs and caricatures of jockeys and racing legends. Sipping on a cup of my favorite Harney & Sons Earl Grey tea it wasn't easy to choose what to get from their great brunch menu since everything sounded delicious, but we decided on trying the calamari and chicken liver pâté for some starters.

Quite simply, this was probably the best calamari I've had in Saratoga, or anywhere else for that matter. It was amazing. Served crispy with a chili lime sauce that included some crushed wasabi peas it was just incredible. The sauce had just the right amount of kick and flavor, and I can assure you the wasabi wasn't too much since my Mom, who thinks mild salsa is "too spicy", loved it as well.

The pâté, served warm with a sliced baguette, was a tasty little dish for a cold winter morning. With a spicy mustard and little cornichons it was a classic dish and didn't need any other embellishments to make it satisfying and exactly what I wanted. The servings were also the perfect size, enough for the three of us to each have some without there either being too little or too much to fill us up before our meals came. The pâté is also something you can't find anywhere else in Saratoga and I love that Sperry's includes these classic types of dishes on their well thought out menu.

For our meals, Sean got his favorite, Eggs Benedict, I got the lemon ricotta pancakes and my Mom got a breakfast sandwich with Black Forest ham, melted gruyere and a fried egg on an english muffin. Sean's followed the same lines as the pâté, traditional and well executed. As I said in other brunch reviews, this is how I prefer an Eggs Benedict. No bells and whistles for me on this dish please. I don't want roasted red peppers or anything added to the hollandaise, I just want it the classic way with some fantastic potatoes to soak up the extra sauce. This is how Sperry's does the dish and it was delicious.

My Mom's sandwich was also great, the egg was cooked perfectly and they used a generous amount of gruyere, one of my favorite cheeses. My lemon ricotta pancakes were absolutely perfect. Even though I can be accused of having a bit of a sweet tooth while pregnant (just a LITTLE bit of course...) I usually prefer the sweetness toned down a touch, especially for breakfast. I'll pass up the Belgian waffles with whipped cream for something a little more subdued when I want just a bit of sweet, and these light little pancakes fit the bill. Thin and delicate, the lemon and ricotta flavors were perfectly balanced with the barely there dusting of powdered sugar which melted in with the syrup. Served with a small dish of fresh fruit the pancakes were actually really refreshing, rather than the sometimes overstuffed feeling you get with regular pancakes. With just the right amount of sweetness I can see this being a favorite kids dish too.

I have to also mention the fantastic service we had. Our friendly and attentive waiter did a flawless job and his polished professionalism fit in perfectly with the atmosphere of the restaurant. As far as a kids menu goes, for brunch they don't have a specific kids menu but are happy to accommodate little appetites. There were a number of menu items that would be perfect for kids to try or share with a sibling, besides the pancakes and the breakfast sandwich I know Finn and Lev would love to tuck into the cinnamon pecan french toast or the yogurt and fruit bowl offered as an appetizer. While we were there a couple families with small kids came in to eat, and the pleasant and friendly staff would make you feel welcome whether you had kids in tow or were there for a grown ups only meal.