Table Talk: Porreca’s Restaurant
I began hanging out here in the 60s when Norma and Richard Gumuka ran the property as Nordick’s Motel and Restaurant. It was a highly popular lodging and dining facility hosted by one of the nicest couples in the North Country.
Hordes of followers would come up from the Capital District, weekenders or vacationers, filling the rooms and bar until 4 am each night during the summer season. Richard would have his Monday night hot dog roast by the pool and Norma would take care of the kitchen. However, on most nights Dick was behind the bar and Norma in the kitchen. While their son Dennis would fill in from time to time, some famous local mixologists like Jerry Kaiser and Steve Garcia began their trade at Nordick’s.
Many locals made it their daily stop, initiating the Gumuka’s Perfect Attendance Award to anyone who did not miss a day during the season. The late, great Garry Grant would be a constant winner, with Howard MacDonald, Mel Brown, Jerry Kaiser, Angie Root and Yours Truly close behind.
The Gumukas sold to Lake George’s Scott and Mary Flagel who sold to the Trentocoste’s. In between and after, it became Steve Garcia’s Rosie’s Diamond Café and even Longshots gave the restaurant a shot.
Today the Porreca’s own Nordick’s Motel and operate Porreca’s as a unique Italian restaurant. Located just after the intersection of Route 9 and Route 9N on Lake Shore Drive, they have completely updated the dining room, added an outdoor deck and maintained the friendly hospitality initiated by the Gumukas.
Inside are huge picture windows overlooking the lake and Scotty’s Motel and there are five cozy tables on the outside deck. A great u-shaped bar done in wonderful Adirondack wood is on an upper level from the dining area. Parking is provided in the back and front of the restaurant as well.
Our party of five was offered a nice outside table on the deck, decorated with some wonderful flower pots. Tiny strings of lights intertwine in the railing, affording a nice ambiance and the traffic on nearby Route 9N is hardly noticeable.
Brittany arrived with menus, ice water and wonderful squares of focaccia bread and house churned garlic butter. We were off to a great start!
Veteran Chef Michael Heller’s menu features house made pasta, which, while not extensive, is very creative!
Today’s specials were pepper and sausage raviolis or a salmon piccata. Appetizers consist of a house mixed green salad, arugula and goat cheese, mozzarella and tomato or crispy calamari with lemon zest and fresh parsley.
Pastas include Bolognese, a “little ear” pasta with pancetta, onion and garlic, fettuccini with pesto, shrimp Fra Diavolo or a Zuppa di Pesce with shrimp, mussels, clams, fresh fish and spaghetti.
Everyday entrees consist of sautéed chicken breast with lemon, artichokes and mushrooms, eggplant rotolini, veal Florentine, salmon portabello and a choice of a 14 oz. strip steak with rosemary pan sauce or two 4 oz. filets topped with oven dried tomato and balsamic reduction.
Owner Carmen Porreca kindly provided our cocktail service while Brittany took our orders.
Two of our party opened with the house salad, a combination of fresh local grown greens and crispy veggies anointed with the house balsamic vinaigrette. Three of us enjoyed a great classic caesar wherein Porreca’s retains the leaves whole and tosses them with a delightful garlic anchovy dressing and parmesan cheese. The hit here however were the warm, fresh, croutons made just minutes before serving.
Pinball King enjoyed a second glass of the house Chianti before digging into a generous platter of two huge sausage and pepper cannelloni; two large pasta tubes stuffed with some great Italian sausage and green peppers and baked with a mild red sauce.
Ms. Shopping Queen had chicken parmesan that included three flattened chicken breasts lightly breaded with marinara sauce and a three cheese covering.
School Marm chose the chicken Nicolina that was perfectly dressed with lemon zest, artichokes and mushrooms in a white wine butter sauce.
Mr. Liquor Store Magnet devoured two wonderful lamb chops, seasoned and cooked medium, with a warm red center with a portabello mushroom sauce.
Yours Truly enjoyed a huge bowl of penne pasta covered with a light tomato cream vodka sauce with a hint of Pecorino cheese and diced onion. Half would go home for another meal.
We all finished the evening with a round of Limoncello, great Italian liquor made from organic lemons, sugar and pure spirits. We also indulged in cheesecake flavored with the liquor as well. We never try to mix our drinks!
Porreca’s goes the extra mile and makes many of their offerings in house, including the desserts, pasta and those wonderful croutons. In a world where many rely on Sysco and U.S. foods for almost everything, Porreca’s deserves honorable mention in any dining out column.
Try to sit outside on the deck and watch all the “unlucky ones” go by as you enjoy a great meal in a fine restaurant. A restaurant we hope remains here for a long time.