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“Our Favourite 'Local"” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Brook Tavern

The Brook Tavern
139 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
(518) 871-1473
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Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Peterborough, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
291 reviews 291 reviews
171 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 80 cities Reviews in 80 cities
153 helpful votes 153 helpful votes
“Our Favourite 'Local"”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2014

We spent 3 nights in Saratoga Springs, staying in the excellent Springwater B&B. On our 2nd night, we called into the Brook Tavern - located very close to the B&B - for a nightcap. We chatted to Randi, behind the bar, and one of the locals who was drinking there. The next night when we walked in it was much busier, but Randi immediately recognised us, waved and called us over to two free seats at the bar. We had a great couple of nights, having a drink and a laugh with the regulars and with Randi. This would definitely be our local if we lived in Saratoga.

  • Visited March 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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42 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    21
    11
    6
    2
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Saratoga Springs, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Looking Forward to Another Night Out - At a Different Restaurant!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2014

Located just across the street from me, the Brook Tavern should be my go-to spot for dinner and drinks in Saratoga. I began courting it in September, when my daughters and I moved here from overseas. Having brought in multiple groups of family and friends for dinner, and having attempted over the months to make it a regular spot for happy hour, I've finally accepted that the Brook Tavern just isn't that in to me. I got it - I won't be going back. No more having to force smiles and salutations from the hostess. No more being told to read the wine list if I want to know what the selections are. No more having my wine glass cleared without being asked about a refill, no more food presented with a sneer. If mediocre food served with an attitude is your thing, by all means visit this restaurant. If great food with friendly, attentive, engaging service is more your cup of tea, I suggest you try someplace else, say Boca Bistro on Broadway.

  • Visited March 2014
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Clifton Park, NY
Top Contributor
173 reviews 173 reviews
163 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
“A warm and friendly tavern with good comfort food.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2013

The menu on their web page is not updated when the menu changes in house, probably for the season. I say this primarily because what we had or saw tonight was either a little different in preparation, or not even listed on the web page. But the concept is consistent. There are some "snacks", "salads", "small plates", and "larger plates."

We arrived before seven on a Sunday evening to find the parking lot filled. Fortunately, a car was leaving as we rounded the corner. It's been probably 6 years since we were last here under a previous ownership. The decor, as you enter through the bar area is warm, cozy, and inviting. The two-sided fireplace adds to that feeling. The hostess asked what name our reservation was listed under and we said we didn't have one. We were led through a narrow aisle of booths on one side and tables on the window side, of what reminded us of a train dining car, to the one remaining table for two. There was another adjacent and larger dining area that looked more formal, but it was not being used. As we were presented with the menus it became apparent that unbeknownst to us, we had arrived on the third night of "restaurant week" in Saratoga.

In addition to the main menu as described above, the restaurant week menu consisted of three sections: starters, main courses, and desserts. Selecting one from each section would cost $20. While reviewing the menus we ordered pints of Boddingtons and Keegan's Mother's Milk ($6 each). While served a bit too cold, they were just right by the time our entrees arrived.

I opted to order off the "restaurant week" menu, choosing the Fried Brussels Sprouts, The "Brook" Burger, and Banana Cream Pie. My wife ordered from the regular menu, the Soup du Jour ($5) and the Kale Salad ($12). Let me start by saying Kale seems to be getting a lot of bad mouthing lately. Maybe other places simply don't know how to work with it. Even I had to admit that it had a nice flavor and crispness, and was dressed lightly with some crumbled honey chevre, apple, onion, mango(?) and a vinaigrette. This is an example of where the web page menu deviates slightly from what we were served, and yet enjoyed. The Soup du Jour was a chicken and sausage gumbo. The flavors were there, but it seemed they needed more time to meld together.

The Fried Brussels Sprouts were quite plentiful, with bits of bacon in a sour yet honey sweet sauce that was thin enough to stay at the bottom of the bowl and not coat the sprouts. My Angus Burger was cooked perfectly to the requested medium-rare. It had to be at least a half-pound, maybe three-quarters, on a fresh bun with a slice of slab bacon, cheddar cheese, tomato confit, lettuce, onion, garlic aioli, and delicious hand-cut fries. Half of it had to come home with me. The Banana Cream Pie was light and airy with a decent banana flavor, but no actual banana pieces. The cream was the real stuff, not like the frozen pies you might be served elsewhere.

Service was impeccable. Even our far-off table was visited at least six times by the hostess and our waiter to see that everything was OK. This seems like the type of tavern where you want to come to have some comfort food and not your typical pub food. There were a few things on the menu that we would like to come back for. And it seems like we better get back soon before they update the menu again.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Saratoga Springs, New York
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
84 helpful votes 84 helpful votes
“Wonderful addition to the neighborhood”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2013

Hubby and I have lived in Saratoga Springs for nearly 20 years, and were recently lamenting the loss of the authentic "hometown" feel of downtown restaurants, as many have become pricey, noisy, and snooty. Then we enjoyed a recent happy hour at Brook Tavern, and took advantage of a Tuesday Takeout for $25, and are restored!

The Union Avenue location of this business--just outside of the downtown hub, in a more residential neighborhood, and somewhat "off the beaten path" in the non-summer/racing off-season--has had its challenges in recent years, with (I think) at least three or four different restaurants cycling through in the last decade. Now that it is in the hands of the owners of the venerable Wishing Well, I sincerely hope it sees lasting success!

Their formula seems to work: Quality food, small but varied menu, attentive service, reasonable Happy Hour specials on drinks and appetizers (every day, even on weekends), a different dinner special each weeknight ($12 bacon-wrapped meatloaf on Tuesdays? yes, please!), and a $25-for-2 take-away dinner special that changes weekly. Hubby and I enjoyed this last recently: a tasty spinach salad with strawberries and goat cheese, sliced sirloin with green beans and mashed potatoes, and cookies for dessert...ample portions and delicious!

Atmosphere is casual cozy, no pretense. Bar area is intimate and welcoming, with a double-sided fireplace. Dining rooms are long and narrow, with ample window space. In warmer weather, dining extends to the outside porch. Service is prompt and friendly. Prices are overall reasonable, and food quality is excellent.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Maine
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Accommodating”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2013

My husband and I didn't get to Saratoga Springs until rather late and finally sat down at Brooks Tavern around 9:00. I'm a vegetarian and gluten free so it can be a challenge to find something I want to eat. The had hummus and pita I didn't want the pita and asked for crudities instead. They did their best and gave me celery which was nice and fresh. The service was good and appropriately attentive. My husband really enjoyed the ribs and the atmosphere comfortable. A pleasant relaxing end to our long day.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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