Table Talk: Boardwalk Restaurant
It all began as a clam shack next to the lake run by a guy by the name of Nick Cutro. They came by car and boat for ice cold beers, steamers and a great Italian sausage sandwich with peppers and onions. For a time, the Cutros also ran a pirate ship on the lake called “The Buccaneer”.
It was all fun, immensely popular and led to construction of what became one of Lake George’s most famous watering holes and restaurants, the Boardwalk. Long before the Village built their Lakefront Walkway, visitors and residents alike flocked to Nick’s place to listen to live music, enjoy prime rib and his famous “all you can eat” crab legs.
Soon, young Nick was racing boats and selling them, and Dad was ready to retire to his great house next door and south to Florida. Along came his friend Bill Dow, a neighbor and owner of the Lake George Steamboat Company. It was a natural for the Dows. They could walk next door to dine, promote the restaurant on all their boats, and protect their nearby property from falling into the wrong hands.
Since their takeover several years ago, the restaurant has now gone seasonal, the marina enlarged, a beautiful outdoor deck has been built over the boathouse, and a footbridge connects the upstairs deck to the boathouse. This past winter the entire upper deck was rebuilt with open wood beams and a roof resembling a ship’s deck. A classy new look for the lakeside venue.
Patrons can park onsite and for lunch dine upstairs, out of doors, under cover with magnificent views of the lake and passing vessels. For dinner you have a distinct choice of the deck or a bit more upscale dining experience inside downstairs. Here there are linen tablecloths, a long U-shaped bar and complete full-course dinners. All tables have a view of the marina and lake through huge floor-to-ceiling windows.
The Dows have brought on another neighbor, Dan Courtney, to manage and this year there is a new chef, Jason Malone, formerly of Top of the World’s Farmhouse. Together there’s a noticeable upgrade in the menu and quality of the Boardwalk’s selections, service and ambiance.
On my most recent visit with Constant Companion and Mr. Tampa University, we chose downstairs. Jim Toole, a mixologist legend in his own time, was working and a host of followers were at the bar.
Dining up or down, I would recommend some of my personal favorites including Prince Edward Island (PEI) mussels or littlenecks. There’s also a great homemade daily crab cake loaded with the real stuff, not a lot of breading and pan fried.
All of the Boardwalk burgers are ground daily at Jacob and Toney’s in Warrensburg, and their rolls are made by the great 2013 “Business of the Year,” the Lake George Baking Company. My favorite here is the stuffed burger, made to order with two toppings inside and out. There’s also a popular pulled pork Reuben, smoked on premises and piled high on a fresh baked roll. Another classic made good here is English pub fish and chips. Chef Jason uses Adirondack Bear Naked Ale beer batter and the fresh cod arrives daily. Outstanding!!
Down or up I’d order the New England chowder, loaded with clam strips and potato in a succulent creamy broth. One of the area’s best. I enjoyed a bowl on this visit and was not disappointed. I followed that up with a large grilled beet salad with goat cheese, carrot slices, toasted walnuts and light vinaigrette dressing.
Tampa opened with a platter of calamari and got a heaping bowl of crisp romaine with a zesty Caesar dressing layered with grilled slices of chicken breast.
Constant Companion went the salad route as well with another large serving of fresh mixed greens in a tangy cider vinaigrette with sliced apples, candied pecans, sweet red onion and crumbled bleu cheese.
We passed on some great looking rib eyes, offered with several special sauces and sides, as well as a variety of fresh pan seared fish choices. Again the menu downstairs offers complete meals in a casual atmosphere as well.
Tracy was our bubbly waitress who delivered very attentive and friendly service throughout.
You can come by boat or car and find a place to park, a plus in Lake George Village. You can sit at a bar topside, outside or downstairs. You can stroll above the lake with a cocktail on the boathouse or you can just sit, enjoy good food and soak in the marvelous view of one of America’s finest lakes.
A lot of choices considering it all began with just two steamed clams and an Italian sausage sandwich!!
One Lower Amherst Street, Lake George Village, NY 518-668-5324