SOUTH GLENS FALLS – You can’t go home anymore, but you can go back to Massie’s.
Whenever we passed Massie’s Restaurant on Route 9 in South Glens Falls, her husband Eric remembered going there to eat with his family during the few years they lived in Chestertown. Her brother remembers celebrating birthdays there.
“I’ve always had spaghetti with meat sauce,” Eric said.
It was in the 1960s, and Massie’s wasn’t even close to being new. The Russo family opened the restaurant in 1929 and operated it until 2016 when it was sold to Jonathan Greenwood, who kept the spirit alive. Spaghetti and meat sauce are still on the menu, but the restaurant has undergone many updates.
Eric doesn’t remember the murals of local landmarks on the walls of the old dining room, but when Greenwood renovated he had them photographed, printed, and framed for the newly renovated dining room. It is a nod to the venerable history of the restaurant.
We were glad we made a reservation on a weekend evening. The hostess directed us to the left, towards the dining room. The bar is on the right. There are cabins in an additional dining area in the hallway near the kitchen.
Our wood-top table was in the middle of the large room, with a bench seat along one side. The walls are tomato red and beige with white trim. It is very fresh and clean; carpet tiles have the advantage of being replaceable when stained.
Massie’s owes some success to its uncluttered Italian menu with American starters, sandwiches and burgers. There is something for everyone and the prices are nice. The Chicken Parm is $ 15; a burger with fries costs $ 10.50. If you want to spend the cash, you can order surf and turf ($ 43), but most entrees cost less than $ 20, much less.
Standards such as the Clam Casino ($ 11.50) and Chicken Liver Pie are still in effect at Massie’s. You can even get a gorgeous old-fashioned relish tray ($ 8.50).
Instead of root beer, this time Eric tasted an excellent Beefeater martini and I drank a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc. Massie’s gets points for their table bread: it’s seasoned and toasted, and quite delicious.
“You can taste the flavor all the way through,” observed Eric.
The fried calamari ($ 11) was for Eric, who loved their cherry pepper mayonnaise with its bit of spice. I preferred the thick, shiny and fresh tasting marinara. While Eric thinks squid is “always chewy”, he thought Massie’s version was “quite tender”. We both loved the crisp, light coating and the sprinkled sliced green onions. “Boy, it was so good,” Eric said.
I was very pleased with the very fresh house salad with grape tomatoes, red onions and fancy cucumber slices ($ 3.50) and their light house Italian dressing.
The moment of truth came when our kind waiter placed a deep bowl of Spaghetti with Meat Sauce ($ 10.50) in front of Eric. He immediately covered it with grated cheese. “It’s real meat sauce, not a lot of tomato flavor,” he said after a hesitant bite. As he dug deeper into the dish, he was more impressed. “Wow,” he said. “It’s damn good.”
The verdict: “If I was still 12, I would order it. His palate has grown a little more sophisticated since then.
The next day I enjoyed the leftovers, along with the chewy chunks of ground beef, and compared them to my own recent version. Their had better flavor and more tender meat.
I ordered a steak at an Italian restaurant, breaking a cardinal review rule. But this steak was famous. It was Massie’s famous steak sandwich ($ 26). Has it been on the menu for a long time? I asked the waiter. “Decades,” she replied, rolling her eyes at the ceiling. This made him OK.
This dish has probably evolved, but big points on the current version, with excellent New York strip loin that was flavor galore and sported expertly executed grill marks. This steak was nicely marbled, giving extra bursts of good meaty flavor. Beef prices are on the rise so the quality of the steak at that price was impressive.
I normally ignored the toast points, but the sandwich style bread triangles were generously buttered and soaked up some of the drips from the steak. They were decadent, juicy, delicious.
The rule is worth breaking here: steak at Massie’s is a staple.
The dish is served with fries or hand-cut spaghetti. I preferred their marinara to their tomato sauce, but it did the trick.
Massie’s doesn’t make their own desserts, so we did. But everything else they do works great, so too bad with the homemade desserts. Keep doing what you’re doing, as my mom would say.
The bill for food was $ 51 before tax and tip. With drinks and a generous tip, which is the norm these days, it was almost double.
We left Massie’s, passed all the people waiting for a table, laden with leftovers and so happy we made the trip down memory lane. Massie’s and Eric are aging, both gracefully.
W: 69 Main Street, South Glens Falls; (518) 792-3383; www.massiesrestaurant.com.
WHEN: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
HOW MUCH: $ 51 for food, before taxes and tip.
MORE INFO: Credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover. Accessible to wheelchairs. Parking across the street; there is a crosswalk but be careful crossing route 9.
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: Food, Life and the Arts