When a restaurant goes through a rough patch – and the meals eaten there in the past have drastically fallen short of your expectations – it’s natural to be a little gunshy about giving it another try. Such has been the case for the last two years at Drake’s Restaurant and Bar, decades ago the area's gold standard for fine dining.
After two shaky seasons we are happy to report that Drake’s is definitely back to its glory days, in a deliciously big way, with a great chef in the kitchen and his family running the front of the house.
While we are loath to give a review based on just one meal – the quality of the food and overall dining experience made us break this rule.
We chose two of the specials: Zuppa Langosta and the Lobster Ravioli. The meal started off with fresh -- home baked -- bread rolls, with a standard side salad. (nothing to write home about, and too heavy on the dressing.)
But when the entrees came out, that’s when the show started for our taste buds.
Zuppa Langosta is an overflowing plate consisting of half a good size lobster, clams, scallops, calamari and shrimp in a garlic and white wine sauce served over pasta. If you prefer traditional red sauce, that is also an option. All of the seafood was fresh, and the meal totally satisfying.
Annette’s lobster ravioli consisted of fresh pasta stuffed with chunks of sweet lobster, served in a creamy vodka sauce. “No frill, just the real deal”.
We split a tiramisu for dessert – and agreed it was one of the best we’ve ever tasted - light, moist and airy. Says Annette: “Surprisingly tasty, but not overly sweet.” The lady fingers were still firm.
When we caught up with Chef Lorenzo Cecunjanin after our meal, he told us that the desert was one of his favorites to make and eat.
Lorenzo has decades of Italian cooking under his belt, learning to cook in the kitchens of a variety of restaurants in Connecticut. Lorenzo's passion is seafood. He was a partner at the Arena Bar and Grill in Lake Placid for many years, and worked at Corvo’s in Saranac Lake. He also did a stint at Casa Mia on Route 9W outside of Albany.
You will find his wife Jasmina and daughter Izabela, on the main floor, taking orders, seating customers and at the bar.
The couple discovered that Drake's restaurant was available when they were cruising Craigslist for kitchen equipment.
“This was the perfect set up, everything was ready to go.”
Besides changing the menu, the couple has already opened up the bar area by removing a wall to accommodate a larger crowd.
The couple had not heard about the bad reviews from previous years, until diners told them.
Folks we have spoken to are equally impressed with the quality of the food.
“When we were here my wife ordered the Zuppa Langosta, when she saw it being brought out for another table,” Councilman Roger Friedman told us.
“She didn’t even look at the price, but based on the quality of the dish, she expected it to be around $30.”
(It’s $22.95. The Lobster Ravioli is $15.95)
“We are very excited to be here in Schroon Lake,” Jasmina told us. “Lorenzo is at his happiest when he is cooking.”Drake’s Restaurnt and Motel. (About one mile north of downtown) 1295 US Route 9,
Schroon Lake, NY 12870. 518 532-9040.