WILTON — Are you really hungry? Want a nice dinner out in an established, comfortable spot and some leftovers to boot? Then head to Winslow’s, and don’t forget to bring cash. They don’t take plastic.
I loved the knotty pine-paneled dining room, with its long wood bar and fireplace, but we didn’t see much of it. “You’ll want to go outside,” our host decided for us, then shepherded us to the door and to the quite pleasant covered patio.
“How about there?” I asked, and headed over to the far end of the patio, nearer the pond. The grassy, tidy yard, peaceful water and a strategically placed row of cedars almost made us forget the Route 9 traffic. “I love sitting out here,” my friend Lisa said.
Winslow’s menu is American classics, with a concentration in Italian. House-made sauce is featured in pasta dishes, baked dishes and hot sandwiches. You can get a sandwich or a steak.
The dinner menu features one each of steak, chicken, pork chops, baked ham, fried clams or shrimp, for example. Prime rib is offered Thursdays. Prices are manageable. A burger with hand-cut fries and a pickle is $9.95, chicken Parm is $13.95 and comes with a host of accoutrements, enough for two or three meals. And therein lies the charm: plates are overflowing, sides are included and dinners amount to two or three separate dishes on the table, some a meal in themselves.
Dinner selections include soup or salad, bread, potato and vegetable or pasta. You really don’t need an appetizer, but we did not know this, and from the starters, which included clams and oysters on the half shell and fried mozzarella, we chose baked stuffed mushrooms ($7.95) to share.
The stuffing is composed of house-made sausage, apples, oranges and port wine, topped with melted mozzarella and served with marinara sauce. Though it seemed an odd combination, Lisa said, “Very different but it works.” It certainly did. I couldn’t pull out the apple and orange flavors, but the sausage was distinctive and tasty.
Salads have variety and crunch, with radish and chopped red cabbage and carrot brightening up the Romaine and iceberg, and slices of summer-perfect red tomato. Mine had Italian dressing poured over, and the vegetables acted as a filter so the liquid puddled below and the spicy bits remained on top. Winslow’s gets points for seasoned, crunchy croutons. Lisa and I though they were the best. I’d have the Italian dressing on the side next time, and Lisa would pass on the vinegary blue cheese.
After packing our leftover mushrooms, the server brought out our meals. Lisa opted for a house favorite — roasted turkey with all the fixings ($18.95), which looked wonderful, a mountain of dressing piled with thick-cut slices of white and dark meat, cranberry sauce and hand-cut steak fries substituted for mashed potatoes. The fat fry she handed over was piping hot and delicious. The meat was tender and juicy, she said, and perfectly done. It surely looked like someone’s homemade holiday meal. “It needs salt,” Lisa said, reaching for the shaker. The gravy needed a little more than salt to give it flavor, and the dressing fulfilled its requirement, she reported.
Our server admitted the chicken Parm ($13.95) was her favorite when we asked for help ordering, and the plate I got looked delicious, overflowing with chicken, sauce, and cheese. And there was my side of ziti, as well, enough for a meal in itself, topped with a load of house-made marinara.
Somehow I got upgraded to a vegetable side, the broccoli and sweet potatoes added color, and another plate, to the table.
Like a kid, I can eat fried chicken tenders all day. But I don’t really think they work in chicken Parm, which I think should feature chicken breast pounded thin. It was generous — I counted five separate pieces in all — and there was plenty of melted mozzarella cheese spread over the pile, browned just a bit from the broiler. It was fine, but didn’t quite hit the mark. I didn’t even get to the pasta — after one or two cheese-covered tenders I was full.
We both had a side of vegetables, an improbable juxtaposition of mashed sweet potatoes and broccoli spears topped with a little cheese sauce. The broccoli was cooked just right and the sauce had a bit of Parmesan flavor, but I’m still in summer mode and not quite ready for seasoned and sugared sweet potatoes. Neither was Lisa.
We were pretty full but I didn’t want to pass up their homemade cream pies. There’s banana, and the server admitted to favoring the coconut, but we chose a piece of chocolate ($3.75) with two forks. It’s a hefty piece that reaches a remarkable altitude, and we enjoyed the chocolate filling, more dense and flavorful than pudding. Kudos to someone in the kitchen for their flaky, tasty and deftly made pie crust. Nice job.
Laden with leftovers, we headed to the car. On a pleasant summer night, you can’t find a more charming spot than by the pond at Winslow’s. Leftovers are guaranteed, and remember: Go hungry.
WHERE: 801 Saratoga Road (Route 9), Wilton, 518-584-2489, winslowssaratoga.com.
WHEN: 4 to 9 p.m Wednesday to Saturday, 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Open seven days during track season.
HOW MUCH: $47.75 before tax and tip
MORE INFO: Cash or personal check only. No credit cards. Accommodations made for children’s meals. Parking lot.