Even though this past week it’s been hard to imagine it’s actually May, it IS indeed patio season now and it’s time we start exploring the beautiful world of patios in Saratoga.
While for many of the patios, they’re just metal bars that are like sidewalk growths of the restaurant it belongs to, but some restaurants have put in the extra effort to create an experience that’s worth talking about.
One of those restaurants is 15 Church.
I have to be honest… last summer when the patio first opened at 15 Church, I was a little intimidated. I am in love with 15 Church, but sometimes when I can’t see what’s behind a wall, it makes me uncomfortable.
Nonetheless, I finally made it there last September and came to the realization that this place is AHHHHHHHHmazing. I mean, waterfalls galore, top notch heaters for those chilly nights, AND a retractable roof? COME ON. Does this patio even really count as a patio?
Yupp. It does.
So once you get through that whole aesthetics thing, it’s time to talk about the food on their menu.
Well, before any food is ordered, when you’re on a patio, it’s like a rule that you have to order a cocktail. If it’s winter and I’m hating life while sitting indoors, I’m drinking wine. But if it’s warm out and I’m a happy camper, a cocktail it is.
One of my favorite cocktails at 15 Church is The Aviation, Bulldog gin, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, creme de violette, fresh lemon juice for $12.
Two of these and I’m on my ass. No joke. It’s dangerous, which is why I usually limit myself to one. If gin is your thing, get this.
In addition to this beverage, I’m also fond of the Kentucky Dip (Bulleit Bourbon, pineapple simple syrup for $12) and the Burke’s Lemonade (Ketel One vodka, house-made lemonade, muddled raspberries, topped with club soda for $13).
Now it’s important to note that the patio menu is different from the regular dining menu inside at 15 Church. The 15 Church patio menu is a little more focused on their raw bar and some smaller plates, but they also have some entrees available as well.
Depending on how hungry you are, I have two main recommendations based on my last visit.
First things first, order the hot crab dip with old bay chips ($19).
Wait, did I just hear the sound of angels singing? Probably.
This is everything indulgent that I want in a hot dip. Noticeably large chunks of fresh crab meat are just hanging out in a bowl of melted cheese topped with caviar. What finishes it off, naturally, are the old bay chips. OLD BAY CHIPS FOR THE WIN. I don’t think I need to go any further.
**The app is great for sharing, but if you’re a dip for dinner kind of guy or girl, then by all means, go for it.
Second, the angry lobster bao buns ($15).
If you’re expecting something huge out of this, here’s a little reality check: it comes with TWO bao buns.
On the bright side, those buns are stuffed with some seriously angry lobster. Of course, by angry I mean spicy.
Can I just say that when I eat something that’s balanced out flavor wise, it puts me in such a happy place. It makes SO much sense to pair something that has heat with something that has a cooling effect, and this dish accomplishes just that.
The thai basil, the scallions, the pickled cucumbers and the chili citrus mayo that’s perfectly coating the lobster meat work so nicely together that your taste buds get a serious workout while eating this dish.
Best part? It’s only $15.
I will say, however, if you think you can get away with simply eating these bao buns for dinner and nothing else, you either have a ridiculously small stomach/appetite, or you’re just being silly.
That’s it for now, but the next time I visit 15 Church’s patio, you better believe I’ll be trying some more of their unique and thoughtfully crafted menu items, while sipping on a delicious cocktail.
Until next time…