As soon as I saw that Javier’s was officially open, I could hardly wait to make a reservation for dinner. While perhaps the menu categorizes it as one of the more expensive restaurants in town, you’ll see that it’s rightfully so. The background of Javier Rodriguez is pretty interesting, with 15 years of fine dining experience in NYC and 12 of those years working as Maitre d’ of The River Café. Bringing that knowledge and sophistication to Saratoga, you can only imagine how excited I was to make my first visit and see what they’ve done to transform what was previously the 28 Tables space.
When you first enter in the downstairs, Maple Ave entrance, you walk right into the large bar space. Now this is from the hostess’ mouth, but she mentioned that the upstairs and downstairs are meant to have two completely different atmospheres. The downstairs bar was dark yet lively, while upstairs is much more sophisticated and classy. It’s the type of difference that impacts how loud or quiet you feel comfortable speaking. The upstairs looked lovely, with fresh flowers on crisp white linen table cloths, and light beaming in through the various windows surrounding the dining room.
Here’s a look at the dining room:
The menu had a very well balanced variety of options, including anything from a simple garden salad to chilled maine lobster and “petrossian” caviar.
I started my meal off with the Cape Cod Littlenecks – Steamed in Guinness with roasted poblanos, garlic, and grilled ciabatta ($15)
I love clams, I really do. Forget bathing suit season, there’s nothing I enjoy more in warm weather than a hearty clam bake with lots of butter and garlic. Now that the summer is on its way and it’s finally getting warm outside, I can celebrate that love when I see it on a menu, which is exactly what I did tonight. These clams were steamed in Guinness and encompassed everything it is that I love about clams. The roasted poblano peppers on top added a simple heat that was rather enjoyable as well. Finally, I must mention how phenomenal it was to dunk the ciabatta in the broth once I had finished the clams. It was salty and light with the perfect crunch.
For my main entree, I ordered the King Salmon – Roasted fingerlings, asparagus, citrus-fennel slaw, romesco sauce ($28)
I know at first glance this portion might seem a little small for the price, but I promise you there’s enough food there to fill your stomach with ease. While my angle takes it from the top, the king salmon was thick and meaty in itself. With a perfect sear on the outside, the preparation of the salmon was something worth mentioning. I’ll admit, I’ve never in my life been asked how I’d like my salmon cooked. Due to this, I was almost taken aback when my waiter asked me and I even let him know that. He explained that many restaurants automatically assume consumers want their salmon cooked well-done, but it’s not an assumption that should be made. This really resonated with me and totally won Javier’s bonus points. I requested mine cooked medium rare, and it was the most perfectly cooked salmon I’ve ever had. Flaky and moist, without an ounce of dryness. Two other components worth mentioning were the romesco sauce and the citrus-fennel slaw. While I thoroughly enjoyed the slaw, it might not have been totally necessary in excess, but the vinegar paired with the salmon added a beautiful combination of flavors.
Finally for dessert, I wanted to continue with my Latin theme, so I ordered the Tres Leches – A three milks cake with mango caviar ($6)
Simple and sweet, just as dessert should be. If I were more of a sweets girl, I would have devoured this entire thing myself, but instead about half of this portion did the trick. It was a thick cake, but dense and the sweetness from the three milks gave it that beautifully sweet and rich flavor it possessed.
In closing, all I can say is that I’m very pleased that Javier’s has joined the Saratoga Springs restaurant community. Based on my first impression, they’ve got it all together and they’re not afraid to pull out all the stops in order to make guests feel welcome and comfortable. If you’re looking for a restaurant that’s offering something a little different, Javier’s is the place to go. You will not regret it.