**UPDATE: 51 Front is now Strata Restaurant! Same owners, just a new name.
A little less than a year ago, I received an email from Elena Marosek who wrote to inform me that she was throwing a tasting event for local food writers as her and her husband took ownership of 51 Front Street in Ballston Spa. Elena and husband/chef Joe Marosek have passion, talent and charm, which is exactly why I love this restaurant. Almost a year later, they’re still kicking butt and here’s why.
51 Front Street is a quaint restaurant tucked in the up-and-coming area of Ballston Spa. On a strip of good restaurants, 51 Front Street is untouchable in terms of quality. On a quiet Thursday evening, Tim and I walked into the restaurant to find an enthusiastic crowd at the bar and were seated in the dining area almost immediately.
The menu has an eclectic selection of appetizers and entrees, all with a unique twist. After taking our orders, we were presented with this cauliflower bisque prepared with caramelized leeks and Hawaiian sea salt.
While the picture might not look great, the flavors were delectable. The bisque was creamy and smooth while the cauliflower pieces on top added a slight crunch. You could absolutely taste the caramelized leeks and the Hawaiian sea salt added an unusual yet beautiful touch. I also think the color is pretty rad.
For our appetizer, we ordered the Fried Squid, which is basically your traditional fried calamari with fried peppers as well as chili flakes.
Fried to perfection, the squid was an excellent choice. After squeezing lemon over the dish, I found it hard to put my fork down and honestly I didn’t even need the dipping sauce that accompanied the dish. Great appetizer choice if you liked calamari!
We then were brought out the Grilled Halloumi with Taboulch Salad.
While it may look at first glance like chicken, don’t be mislead. This above is Cyprus char grilled cheese (homemade!) together with a salad of chopped herbs including parsley, mint, and scallions combined with bulgur wheat, tomatoes and garlic. Yowzas. For those who don’t know me, I’ll let you know now how obsessed I am with cheese. If I could put cheese on everything, I would. This cheese right here was among the best cheese I’ve ever tasted. Not only was it immediately clear how fresh it was, but the texture was perfect and it had just enough of a squeak to it in the back of my mouth as I chewed. Love love loveeeeeeeee! Also, the salad which is plated beautifully, was refreshing and light, not weighing me down before my entree came out.
And so it arrived, the herbed crusted salmon.
The herbed salmon was served with lemon turnips and Cyprus potatoes drizzled with a balsamic reduction. The herbs on this salmon are ridiculous. Whatever they combined together in this herb crust created a flavor sensation in my mouth that I’ve never experienced before. On top of that, the lemon turnips (which I never would have thought to create/try) we outstanding. As I’m getting after my meal, I look across the table at my boyfriend and notice him not coming up for air between bites.
He ordered the “Best Fried Chicken you have ever had, anywhere, ever!”
Well my friends, I live to tell you that it’s not only the best fried chicken I’ve ever had, I would venture to say it’s the best fried chicken that anyone has ever made. After trying it (and believe me, Tim wouldn’t share much), I will put my reputation on the line for this chicken. From the breading to the chicken underneath, it was as perfect as fried chicken can be. Let’s put it this way, above in the picture is half of a chicken fried. At the end of the meal, NOTHING was left. Nothing. In fact, Elena herself came over to express how impressed she was that the plate was cleared.
So there you have it, my thoughts on 51 Front Street, from appetizers to entrees. Oh, but wait… they have an amazing happy hour too and I just so happened to take advantage of it so I could report back to you guys! I guess you’ll just have to wait for that one, but until then, GO TO 51 FRONT STREET. Yeah yeah yeah, it’s outside of Saratoga but who cares! It’s 10000% worth it, I promise. Stay tuned for 51 Front Street Part II!
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