When Capital Region restaurants got the green light to reopen in June, husband Eric and I were ready to eat out. It was freezing and we sat outside and ordered soup. When we visited 30 Park in Clifton Park Center recently, we had the opposite problem: The umbrellas on the patio were down and it was too hot to even think about eating outside.
We’d eagerly awaited Phase 4 of New York’s reopening plan — when we could eat inside a restaurant, like normal — only to find we felt that despite the restaurants’ best efforts, we were not entirely comfortable. So for us, meals remain outside or to-go.
The handsome 30 Park that replaces Prime Bar + Grill in the Hilton Garden Inn is a worthy successor. It’s updated with fresh decor; the roomy dining room has comfortable seating at tables spaced well apart; and a there’s a wow-factor, blue backlit bar.
It was there we met Kristen, who had taken my order over the phone and patiently answered a million questions. On the bar were three bottles of wine; we could choose one to bring home because we’d met the $50 spending minimum. It’s a nice bonus. We chose a French rosé made from Syrah grapes and took the neatly packed bags home.
After cocktail hour, I took the food out of the oven and plated the meals.
Eric ordered tipsy scallops ($26), arranged so tidily in the takeout box it made me wish I could see the chef’s plated dish. It was garnished with a charred orange slice and a rosemary sprig, echoing the rosemary-scented creamy grits and vodka orange marmalade. The grits had bits of corn the texture of couscous. The scallops were “beautifully browned,” Eric said. “The orange makes them taste sweeter,” he decided.
“I’ll have a couple of chips,” Eric said, dipping into the blue cheese. Kristen had subbed out Saratoga chips for the French fries with my sandwich for me, and the serving filled a takeout box. The chips are evenly browned and tasty, but don’t eat too many like I did. Eric said the blue cheese dressing was a bit sharp.
I ordered the Brie bird ($16), a chicken sandwich topped with melted cheese, spinach sautéed in tons of garlic and sweet red onion compote. They use good quality chicken, grilled and sliced. It’s tender and tasty. The sandwich was so big, each half filled a takeout box.
The resulting combination of cheesy, sweet, garlicky and crunchy goodness was amazing. I’ll order it again. Their pickle smelled like a good deli.
During happy hour, while Eric sipped a dry martini up with a twist and I enjoyed the dry rosé, liquid from the spinach or compote soaked the bottom slice of bread. The sandwich was still delicious, but crisped up in the toaster oven the next day the other half was even better.
We’d ordered a slice of turtle cheesecake ($13) for dessert and the serving was enough for two, if one of them is not Eric. He ate all the chocolatey turtle sauce with pecans and chocolate chips while I nibbled at the crust and filling, and determined it was excellent. The sauce was way too sweet for me, but their smooth cheesecake, with its tangy sour cream topping, is to die for.
The tab for our meal, with tax, came to $58.85, including a bottle of wine.
The food at 30 Park was excellent, with flavors carefully considered and combined, and was beautifully presented. It’s worth a visit, inside or out.
WHERE: 30 Clifton Country Road, inside the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, Clifton Park; (518) 631-6500; 30parkcp.com
WHEN: 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday, 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday
HOW MUCH: $58.85, with tax
MORE INFO: Credit cards: Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover. ADA compliant. Children’s menu. Parking lot.