These days, Ballston Spa is a bustling place, and with more and more restaurants popping into the downtown area, I’ve been making the quick trip from Saratoga Springs that way on a regular basis.
A few weeks ago after I finished demolishing a breakfast at Russell’s Deli, I noticed a new cafe opening at 2002 Doubleday Ave in Ballston Spa, NY.
Bitter Sweet Cafe, owned by Chef Brian Van Vranken and his partner, Laura Loverro, officially opened their doors near the end of June.
When I meandered in last weekend, I have to be honest – all I wanted was breakfast. In fact, when we first walked into Bitter Sweet Cafe and we asked if they had breakfast (even though outside it said lunch and dinner), they said unfortunately they did not. Just as we started walking out the door, though, Van Vranken mentioned he could do breakfast if we really wanted it, as he already had the staples (eggs, bacon, potatoes, etc.).
That alone was enough to get me to turn around, because anyone who’s willing to satisfy their customers like that is a business owner I want to support.
Once we sat down, we were greeted by Loverro, who could not have been friendlier and more inviting.
After ordering a hot coffee served in clear glass mug (which I loveeeeeee), I decided I was too intrigued by the menu items that I wasn’t even interested in breakfast anymore.
That’s right, I’m THAT much of a pain in the ass. Actually, I’m usually not like that, but I was hungover. That speaks for itself.
Starting with an order of the cinnamon raisin monkey bread, I couldn’t wait to indulge in a sweet treat to start off my day.
Oh lawdy. The pillowy dough accompanied by the delicate cinnamon and the cinnamon raisin butter on top was simply divine. I’d like for that butter to be used on everything I eat from now on, all the time.
Moving on, I figured I could get the best of both worlds, so I chose the “Good Mornin’ Burger” for my main meal, which is a 1/2 pound ground beef patty topped with caramelized onions, hickory bacon, fried peppered egg (YESSSSS!), melted cheddar cheese, and a chipotle aioli. Continuing on with my mission to be a pain in the ass, I asked for the burger medium rare with horseradish cheddar instead of the plain cheddar. Love me some horseradish.
Also, the side options were fresh cut french fries or a housemade tabouli salad. I chose the tabouli to balance out the meal with some vegetables. See, I’m totally capable of making healthy decisions!
Here are my positives –
The bun was great. Perfect size for the burger and was soft and pillowy, not dense like a lot of other burger buns I’ve experienced. It was totally one of those buns that perfectly absorbs some of the grease and sauces, making the bun an integral part of the meal.
The bacon was thick and medium crispy. The cheese was melted nicely, and the chipotle aioli had a nice kick without being overpowering.
The tabouli salad was fresh and light, which personally was great for me because I was really overdoing it with the amount of meat I was consuming at 11:30am.
The yolk was already broken when the burger arrived at the table, which is depressing because I love breaking the yolk when I press the top bun down and the yolk oozes down the sides. It’s a magical thing.
Also, I asked for the burger to be prepared medium-rare, but it was brought out at medium-well. After all of the trouble I gave them in the beginning, I wasn’t about to send it back. But the burger did taste awesome cold when I ate the second half later in the day.
Looking back to my experience at Bitter Sweet Cafe, I really loved each element of the burger. If those items I mentioned above were corrected, I think it would have been heavenly. I try to never judge a new restaurant based on my first experience if it’s within the first month of them opening, and there are SO many other items I’d love to try on this menu that I’ll definitely be back. Next time – their homemade PASTA!
Oh and PS, they announced just a couple days ago that they will now be open for breakfast starting on Tuesday, July 14th at 7am every day, with a special brunch menu on Sunday’s.
Check out their full menu and daily updates on their Facebook Page!