Fellow food blogger Aliza is a dedicated foodie giving honest food reviews of places in the Saratoga area. She recently went to The Living Room and here is what she thought. Thanks for being a guest blogger on "Bite Me!" To follow Aliza, check out her blog at http://www.savoringsaratoga.blogspot.com/ Hi guys! Before I tell you all about the Living Room, I just wanted to give a quick thanks to Jenn for the guest post. I love when local bloggers work together, especially when it involves food…
The owners of Putnam Den must have been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug when they decided to open up a second business, but instead of another music venue they created a fun, fine dining restaurant. The Living Room is tucked away on Caroline St and when you first walk in it looks like any other restaurant…until you see where it got its name. On a raised platform in the corner is an array of tufted sofas and lounge chairs around a coffee table, probably one of the more adorable places to enjoy happy hour in Saratoga.
We were seated further back, at a table that had a decadent sofa on one side and two beautiful chairs (that I wanted to somehow take home with me) on the other. Two tables had to be pushed together for us, and though that seemed to be quite the production I certainly appreciated all of the efforts our waitress made to ensure that our table was steady – nobody likes an unbalanced table.
Once we were finally settled I got a chance to look at the cocktail menu and quickly noticed the theme. The Living Room refers to itself as a 1920’s speakeasy restaurant, with all the drinks being either classics from that era or named for it, like the Daisy Buchanan or the Bees Knees. I personally went with a Sidecar, one of my new favorite drinks. I think a speakeasy is a great idea, but it seemed that the drinks list was where it was most evident - I wish there had been a blurb on the menu or an explanation from the waitress – some additional little tribute to the 20’s.
While we looked over the menu our waitress brought us home made potato chips with three dipping sauces, a nice touch instead of the usual bread and butter.
The menu focuses on local, organic, and seasonal ingredients and has a variety of categories that range from “getting started” to “getting comfy”. Since I wasn’t sure how big the dishes actually were, I ended up getting the soup du jour and the Lump Crab Timbale. The soup was a chilled nectarine horseradish soup (pretty adventurous) that had an interesting taste, but was too intense as a soup. I ate as much as I could and then ended up passing it over to some friends, though I think it would have tasted great over fish or on a salad maybe.
After my soup I was definitely looking forward to my crab dish that came with tomatoes, arugula and a sweet pea sauce. The dish had a great combination of flavors, I particularly loved the sweet pea emulsion, but my friend who also ordered it was disappointed. We decided that it was the kind of dish that would have been amazing if we ordered it for lunch while sitting outside on a hot summer day, but was not necessarily what we wanted for dinner.
I mentioned earlier that the size of the dishes was a little confusing when looking at the menu. For example, the Crab Timbale was under “getting started” or small plates, yet was a pretty decent sized serving. My friend who also ordered the crab got the salad nicoise as well which was under “getting started” or appetizers. That would normally make sense, ordering a small plate and an appetizer, yet the salad was huge and could have easily been a main dish. Our waitress wasn’t particularly helpful either, I kept trying to ask about the size of the dishes to figure out what I wanted to order and her answers were always vague like “well it wouldn’t be enough food for me”. I almost felt like saying “show me with your hands how much food is on this plate”. Long story short, this friend and I ended up overeating simply because we really weren’t sure how much food we were ordering.
My other two friends ended up ordering pizza, one got the Grilled Apple and Chevre pizza that came with onion jam and arugula and the other got the Spinach Shitake Mushroom pizza with grilled red onion and truffle oil. Both were amazing, but I think the mushroom pizza was my favorite; truffle oil just always kicks everything up a notch. The pizza dough itself was pretty unique too; it was an extremely thin crust that was so crispy it tasted fried. The pizzas were perfect for sharing and both went home with a couple leftover pieces for lunch the next day.
Overall my experience at the Living Room was mixed. I got so excited about the 20’s cocktails (I wanted to try each and every one of them) and the sexy atmosphere, but then was slightly disappointed with the food. Maybe now that I have a slightly better idea (kinda) of portion sizes I’ll be able to order better next time. Maybe I’ll just stick to pizza and happy hour. The Living Room has a lot of potential, just needs a little more fine-tuning. A speakeasy is a great idea but needs more than some fancy couches and prohibition cocktails to make it come to life.