It’s tough to find a fabulous venue where the wine menu and chef blows you away that is also enjoyable for kids. Enter a side-by-side dining experience on Broadway, the main drag in Saratoga Springs New York: The Crown Grill and Circus Cafe. Both restaurants have a “twist” and are run and managed by the same owner.
The Crown Grill has a bit more of a “going out on the town” ambiance for adults whereas its sister sidekick the Circus Cafe is all about kids, from the ambiance and cotton candy to trivia nights. That said, we dined at the Crown Grill first before making our way over to Circus Cafe and there were plenty of options kids would love as well, especially since you could order off either menu.
Flowers are a big part of the presentation here, whether you order the oh so out of this world Lamb Lollipops in a Demi Glace or the Pan Seared Ahi Tuna with soy, ginger, lime and a sesame crust. (both below) Had we had a chance to return on another night, I would have tried the Roast Pork Loin with Apple and Caramelized Onions. (oh so delish).
Also worth ordering is their Chicken Marsala, which is a chicken breast with Marsala wine and sauteed mushrooms. Anthony said the sauce was “perfect.”
If you’re not shy on the carbs, go for the Cuban Pork Empanadas with ground pork in a flaky pastry in a sweet Jalapeno vinaigrette, their Maryland crab cake with lemon pepper aioli or the Asparagus Fries (below), which they serve with Parmesan Panko Crust and lemon aioli. (can you say dangerous?)
I found it harder and harder to stay clear of carbs on this trip than anytime in the last six months, but one staple that kept me away from dessert cravings was the certainty of a salad to start. There appeared to be an abundance of beets on every menu from Westchester County and the Big Apple to rural Connecticut and upstate New York. If there’s a beet salad on a menu, it usually has my name on it, so needless to say, I had to try the Crown Grill Heirloom Beet salad, which rather than goat cheese, they serve with a Gorgonzola cheese.
Other delicious salad options include a Blue Cheese Wedge with bacon and blue cheese, a crown market mixed field green salad with candied nuts and dried cranberries or a traditional Caesar.
For kids, chicken wings is always a good choice (below) and they had a classic burger on the menu topped with cheddar cheese that they serve with french fries or a mixed green salad. There’s also a Fettuccine Ragu where they braise a combo of beef and pork in red wine and serve with tomatoes.
We weren’t able to finish the wings and since we had a suite, we decided to take them home with us. Sure enough, we fried them up in the morning and the flavors were even better a day later — YUM!! The Crown Grill has live jazz every Friday night and a wide selection of cocktails, from cucumber martinis and Triple Crown to Cosmopolitans and Gibsons.
For those with a guilty conscious, they have a selection of “Juicetails,” which are cold pressed juice from the Saratoga Juice Bar, so you can add carrot, juice, spinach, cucumber and other healthy veggie juices to a shot of vodka, gin, prosecco or tequila. I assume you could order a “Juicetail” without the shot as well.
We headed next door to Circus Cafe for dessert where we were presented with a massive dose of cotton candy, a godsend for every kid I’ve ever known. Two thumbs up — we’d definitely return!!