LAKE PLACID Curiosity, and some good reports from foodie friends, brought us to the breakfast club, etc. yes, the name is all lower case in the Olympic Village.
The BC, as it calls itself, is on the fashionable main drag. It has a view of the quaint (and often busy) street, but not the lake. High ceilings, dark red walls and perfect lighting give the room a warm and cozy feel.
We slid into a booth on one side of the generous-sized room. There was a full bar on the opposite wall and plenty of tables in between.
The name would lead you to believe theyd dish up a mean bacon and eggs with hash browns, right? But its much more than that.
According to the BC website, the concept is to serve delicious, creative items that are familiar and yet expand the expectations of what breakfast, lunch and dinner can be.
The comprehensive dinner menu offers a dozen entrees chicken, steak, seafood and pasta as well as upscale breakfast items. Theres a selection of eggs Benedict varieties (smoked salmon, crab cake, steak, vegetable), a large choice rosti potato and egg dishes and interesting specialty takes on breakfast fare like French toast fondue.
While the breakfast items were tempting, so were the dinner entrees. And since it was dinnertime and we were hungry, we went with the latter.
But first, we perused their generous bar offerings: 10 varieties of Bloody Marys, a similar number of mimosas, a plentiful mixed drink menu plus some interesting regional brews on tap.
A pomegranate martini, a straight-up maple Crown Royal and two draws of a sweet and nutty Widmer Brothers winter ale aged in Makers Mark bourbon casks kept us happy while we selected our appetizers and entrees.
Blue fin crabcakes ($12), clearly made in-house, were a nice balance of crab, minced onion, sweet green peppers and seasonings. Cajun aioli was spicy but not too hot a good complement to the sweetness of the crab.
Pan-seared scallops with a creamy dill-lemon sauce ($13) were a highlight. Served on a bed of baby spinach, the scallops (three of them, medium-sized) were perfectly seared slightly crunchy on the outside, smooth and tender inside. The sauce was simply fantastic, alive with zesty lemon and fresh dill.
Cheddar bacon chowder ($4/cup) was loaded with chunks of potato and flavorful bacon. It lacked the distinctive tang of aged cheddar. Nonetheless, it was a good and hearty soup fit for a cold winters night.
We had ordered boneless chicken wings ($9) with smoky espresso barbecue sauce. The order arrived and it was bone-in wings. They were crisp and meaty; the sauce was dark and sweet, but no noticeable taste of coffee. Blue cheese dressing was supplied for dipping.
A basket of warm, crusty food service rolls arrived at the table with two butters, one plain and one cinnamon, haphazardly piped into silver soufflé cups. While the intention was good on the cinnamon butter, it was WAY too cinnamon-y.
For entrees we chose cheddar jalapeno chicken, ($17), shrimp puttanesca ($22), pork scallopini ($20) and a New York strip steak ($23).
The chicken dish was surprisingly good. It contained many bite-sized pieces of pan-grilled chicken, flavorful cubes of pancetta (Italian bacon) and zingy rings of jalapeno pepper tossed with penne pasta in a cheddar cream sauce. Not overwhelmingly spicy and not powerfully tasting of cheddar, but quite good.
Shrimp puttanesca was not what we expected. Puttanesca is a traditional Italian sauce made with tomatoes, onions, capers, black olives, garlic, anchovies and oregano. What we got was a thin sauce with mushrooms, a few flecks of tomato, a few capers in a bland white wine sauce that pooled underneath the linguini. There were five medium-sized shrimp on top of the pasta.
We were also confused by the stuffed pork scallopini. Scallopini refers to a thinly sliced or pounded cut of meat. Think veal scallopini.
It got more confusing when our pleasant but far from knowledgeable waitress informed us that the pork chop would take a half-hour to cook. A few more questions led to the cook coming to our table, explaining how its all done from scratch when the order comes in, yada, yada, yada.
Anyway, it came out in about 15 minutes along with the other entrees, what appeared to be a butterflied pork loin, not pounded quite thin enough, stuffed with dry traditional bread stuffing and brie that you had to hunt for. It was more like a thick braciola or rolatini preparation, not scallopini. Certainly not what we expected, nor did it live up to its description.
The 10-ounce strip steak was a good ol steak, tender and tasty, cooked expertly to our request of medium-rare. We opted for two of three proffered sauces: wild mushroom Bordelaise and maple-bourbon-tomato demi-glace.
The Bordelaise was perfect, a wonderful balance of the wine reduction and the earthy flavor of the mushrooms. The demi-glace was simply too complex. The flavors did not work well together. It ended up being a thick sauce with no personality.
Red skin smashed potatoes and buttered carrots accompanied both the pork and the steak dishes. The potatoes were very tasty and the carrots were excellent, cooked to just the right point to be enjoyed at maximum sweetness.
We ordered a side of sweet potato hash ($3.50). Now picture hash in your mind. What we got was half a baked potato squished down on a plate with a few small pieces of bacon stuck in it. Another case of expecting one thing and getting another.
For dessert, there are some nice offerings based a little bit on the breakfast menu, like the French toast fondue. We chose the maple bacon sundae ($7) to share, homemade maple ice cream with chocolate-covered bacon and warm, freshly made waffles. It also came with maple whipped cream, perhaps a little overkill with still more maple, but we managed to practically lick the plate clean.
Dinner for four, excluding drinks and tip, came to $146.05.
Maybe we were expecting more. Maybe we should have ordered the breakfast stuff. Maybe a better server would have left us feeling better about the place.
There are a lot of fine restaurants in Lake Placid to choose from. Im not sure the next time Im in Placid that the breakfast club will be on my list of places to go for dinner.
But if I return at a different time of day, I know what Ill be getting. Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and a Bloody Mary or two.
You can contact restaurant reviewer Walter Siebel via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
the breakfast club, etc.
2490 Main St.
Lake Placid, N.Y.
Not just a place for breakfast, the breakfast club, etc. serves lunch and dinner as well.
HOURS: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday
7 a.m. to 9-ish (depending on business) Sunday
APPETIZER PICKS: Blue fin crabcakes, pan-seared scallops with a creamy dill-lemon sauce
ENTRÉE PICK: Strip steak with Bordelaise sauce
DESSERT PICK: Maple bacon sundae