Full disclosure--i am a huge DZ Restaurant fan (they operate 4 different, high quality restaurants in this area.) I am also a Preferred Guest customer (and if you are not--get your card the next time you visit--i saved $15 on my bill last night!)
Having said all that, it was my first trip to this part of the DZ 'family', and as always, my expectations were met and surpassed. The 'small plate' idea was lovely for the four of us, giving us ample opportunity to taste little bits of lots of things, all of which are perfectly prepared, and at a reasonable cost.
As a non-meat eater, I ordered the Spanish omelette ($8) and the sauteed fresh fava beans (also $8), both of which would have been more than a meal for me. Others ordered the stuffed pepper, dates stuffed with almonds and wrapped in smoky bacon, the meatball--huge and also wrapped in bacon and nestled in a lovely, smooth homemade roma sauce. We also started with the mixed cheese platter which included quince paste and a lovely, spicy-sweet bowl of roasted walnuts. How good does life get, with all these small bites of perfectly cooked, well-seasoned Spanish foods?? We ended with a flourless torta in saffron cream, which was the real thing--genuine notes of piquant saffron in the smooth, pale-yellow pool in which the deep chocolate torta rested. All four of us shared this, and I had a dark, strong cup of decaf--very hard to find in most restaurants. Decaf so often tastes like an afterthought, but this was the rich and satisfying.
The service was impeccable. We were not rushed, despite the fact that it is the busiest season in Saratoga ((racing season).
The decor, as always, is authentic with a kind of upscale peasant bar sort of feel. Internal brick walls are varnished; lighting is subdued but adequate for reading a menu with poor vision (me).
I know that I am a fan of these restaurants (Pasta Pane in Clifton Park, Forno Bistro in Saratoga, Chianti in Saratoga), but it is simply because they get it right.and they don't skimp on atmosphere or service. Prices are also reasonable (a full meal for all 4 of us, minus drinks, was $81--deal!!)
It was a lovely way to spend two lazy, tasteful hours on a rainy afternoon with a significant other, my son and his girlfriend. When I left, I felt like I had been to a spa because I was relaxed, felt pampered, and had the memory of an exceptional meal still teasing my palate.
(Oh--did I mention the complimentary olive platter and slices of thin, crusty bread that arrived as soon as we sat down? and which they REFILLED for us???)