of Panza’s restaurant newly ensconced in the former Trade Winds on South Broadway in Saratoga Springs. [#linkinbio
| 📸 Paul Bukowski/Times Union]
“Whether you valet park at the Vegas-style front or navigate the huge rear lot, all must enter through the tumbled stone entrance, passing leafy waterfalls glowing an ambient green and up stairs to the dining room and a "grotto bar" where anyone under 50 will feel like a young gazelle in a woodland grove. Venture another half level up to the open-view piano bar and entertainment lounge, where signed photos of Liberace, Sinatra and pals only add to the retro vibe. A capable crooner belts out Broadway hits and Hall & Oates covers on the house piano and, while awaiting my guests, a cocktail waitress delivers a stiff Negroni as I snuggle into fluffy cushions beside a silver-haired fox.
Panza's has been entertaining guests on Saratoga Lake since 1938 as a restaurant and piano bar, originally the Starlight Room and at one time with Panza's Lazy Susan, a celebrity-attracting outpost in Hollywood...
[S]hrimp cocktail — a house best-seller — flies out to tables in glass bowls billowing clouds of dry ice; smoked burrata is served under a glass cloche swirling with smoke that's lifted ceremoniously — ta-da! — to wreath our table in aromatic plumes. Those Gulf shrimp are plump and fresh, the Italian burrata creamy even for a somewhat small half boule over arugula and salted ripe tomatoes. We giggle at presentation so richly retro.”
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