We made our first visit to Max London's last night, the first of many, I'm sure. Casual and upscale, great bar (Saratoga's first Pegu Club cocktail?). It's a tapas-plus large-plate-special+pizza concept. Ate from the small plates side of the menu, blue-cheese stuffed dates and a couple of Spanish cheeses with drinks, salads, pasta, and pizza afterwards, then split a dessert. My pizza was a high point, anchovies and red cherrry peppers, crusty and smoky from the wood oven,; B's pasta was a low point, tagliarini with crabmeat, drastically over-peppered. We expected more from dessert, given that Max is the offspring of Mrs. London, whose world-class French patisserie is next door, but our flourless-chocolate cake slice with pistachio icecream was good, but certainly not up to Mrs. London standards. Breads are from Rock Hill bakery, and Mike London, whose business that is, was overseeing the front of the house, and available to talk bread.
Small plates and pizzas were $8-$15, so our meal with two cocktails (perfect Perfect Manhattan!), two tapas with drinks, two salads, pasta, pizza, one dessert, two quartinos of Les Baux de Provence (interesting, moderately-priced wine list, glass-and-a-half quartinos were around $15), one dessert and one coffee was $125 before tip. Not cheap, but moderate for Saratoga Springs these days. The large plates are all specials, and one of them, a 22-oz cowboy steak, was offered for $48, which is the most expensive main course I've ever seen on a Saratoga menu, although I'm sure it would be delicious. Other specials included a grouper and a cioppino, less stratospherically priced, and a pork-belly tapas.
Service was excellent. B is allergic to garlic, and the server was entirely on top of making sure the kitchen took care of her. We've been waiting a long time for this place to open, but I think they've got it right. We look forward to our next visit.
Max London's Restaurant
Saratoga Springs, NY, Saratoga Springs, NY