The other night was the perfect night to go to the Mouzon House. This is by far one of my favorite restaurants in Saratoga and it always reminds me of summer, and lately I felt like I needed a little bit of summer in my life. So after printing out our local living coupon my date and I headed to an early dinner.
As we walked across the parking lot to the house we could already hear warm music floating our way, I love it when restaurants try to draw you in off the street with music! Oh and when I said an early dinner, I mean 5:30. We were going to a concert later that night and needed to be on the road by 7, so 5:30 sounds about right...right? And since it was so early we figured we didn't have to worry about making a reservation.
When we were greeted by the hostess she asked us if we were there for the cocktail party. (In retrospect we should have said yes and hit up some free drinks) But since we weren't there for the party she then asked us if we had a reservation. Even though the restaurant was empty except for the party she made us feel like we really should have made a reservation, which was sort of strange, but I guess in her defense it did fill up a little later.
We were seated in the back room...it's hard to describe where that is though because one of the many things I love about this place is that you can sit in any room in the house for dinner. Each room has it's own feel with beautiful art and furniture, they definitely made every little detail count. So even though it's a rather large restaurant you still have a sense of privacy wherever you sit, which was great when we barely even noticed the loud party in the next room. When you go, make sure to ask your server about the story of the house and restaurant, if you're lucky you might even get a tour...this house holds a lot of interesting Saratoga history. And did I mention that the Mouzon House is a strong supporter of the farm to table movement? That always earns extra points in my book.
After our waitress introduced herself she told us the specials for the night (yum!) and asked us if we wanted anything to drink. My date asked for a glass of wine and I thought I would be a little adventurous and asked for a Papa Doble. This was Hemingway's favorite drink (and mine too!) and even though it's not so common, I figured it couldn't hurt to ask. Her response was "I don't know that drink" so I thought, ok well maybe if I tell her what's in it...so I started saying grapefruit juice, lime...and then she just said again, before I could finish, "I don't know that drink". Alright then, guess I'll just go with a gin and tonic. I understand that it's a random drink, but she made me feel silly for even asking about it. All she had to do was say "oh yeah, we've got some grapefruit juice, I can throw something similar together for you!" oh well.
Onto the food! For an appetizer we ordered the Bruschetta Trio. Tonight's had a mediterranean theme and was (from top to bottom) green apples with goat cheese and honey, red peppers with goat cheese and fried fennel, and mediterranean salsa with feta and fried fennel.
How amazing do those look! Slightly difficult to eat gracefully, but still delicious! I like getting a lot of different tastes with one dish, and this one certainly did just that while still tying all of the tastes together.
For my entree I ordered the Crawfish Ettouffee. Mouzon House rocks crawfish like there's no tomorrow. Normally we get the Crawfish Beignets for an appetizer (we've been told that the kitchen staff refers to them as "crack" because they are just that addictive) but I didn't want to over do it with crawfish and the Bruschetta sounded really good.
But back to the ettoufee, which is crawfish in a spicy tomato sauce over rice. Why is the plate so blinding in that picture? I need to figure out how to work my camera better. Anyways. I've gotten this dish before and it's always had a definite kick to it. But tonight that kick kicked my butt and I was feeling the (heart) burn the rest of the evening. I don't know what happened to my spice tolerance, normally I'm pretty tough, but I must have had about three glasses of water and two thick slices of bread with this dish.
My date was more than happy with his choice of chicken with potatoes and collard greens. Doesn't this picture just scream "comfort food"?
Warning though for vegetarians who like to pick off of other people's plates - the collard greens are true southern style and are cooked with smoked pork! I had a big bite before I remembered, but I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty sure the pork was what make the collard greens taste SO good.
For dessert we ordered Bananas Foster. By ordered I mean my face lit up so much when our waitress said "bananas foster" that my date started laughing and our waitress said "so I guess that's what you guys want?" Yes, I always want warm bananas with a sweet rum sauce over ice cream.
And this dessert had a twist, it was served over cinnamon ice cream! This added a whole new aspect to this classic dessert. I must admit, it was a little soupy by the time it got to us, but it still earned it's rank as one of my favorite desserts ever.
I feel like Mouzon House is one of Saratoga's best kept (slightly expensive) secrets, so many people pass it on the way to the farmer's market but never know that it's a restaurant. I also want to say that though it's a great place to go in the winter, this review does not do it justice when it's in it's full summer glory. I'll have to write about Mouzon House again once the garden is open, there's live music on the patio, and the menu is full of local summer produce. Just wait, it's gonna be great.