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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lanthier’s Grove (Latham, NY)

Not too long ago I went over to Lanthier’s Grove for a weekend outing with some co-workers. We went there to kick back, have fun, and enjoy lots of good food.
Two out of three ain’t bad.
Lanthier’s Grove, is right off of Route 9 and Dunsbach Ferry Road in Latham. On their site they keep saying it’s right across the street from The Century House, but the only way I’ve ever found it was looking for the car dealerships (maybe it’s the Lexus one?). Anyway, if you see their smallish sign on the road, turn right there and be prepared for that quickish left toward the entrance. It doesn’t really look like much, just a picnic area… but then again, Lanthier’s is pretty much that. An outdoor catering hall.

Both their weekday and weekend picnic menus includes an all-you-can-eat lunch serving your standard hamburgers/hot dogs/chicken/sausage/sides. They also have a raw clam bar, which I have never tried before. Shame on me for waiting so long! It was so good, I must have had dozen of them. Squirt of lemon, splash of hot sauce, and happy me.

The outdoor part of their kitchen. I was curious how they would cook these all up, and I don’t know… it seems kinda sparse, no? There were quite a few fire pits, and the metal boxes were likely the steam boxes. There was also a trash can over a fire… and I don’t even want to know what went in there.


When dinner-time rolls around, the staff go crazy. Remember mess hall at camp? Same thing… only bigger, and less camp food-y. Seating is based on your party, and my party was lucky to get seating on one of the row ends (they were loooong rows). You left your ticket out and depending on what one of the roving staff was carrying, you had your meal plopped in front of you. Loud, noisy, chaotic… really did remind me of camp.

Sadly, this meal failed to meet everyone’s expectations. For starters, the all you can drink beer? Busch or Busch Light. That plate of pickles and olives? Seemed like an afterthought, something to just fill space. Salad was your basic bagged variety. Bread was okay. The dessert afterward (orange creamsicle) was fine. The main course was the biggest offender – I ordered the chicken dinner (1/2 chicken, dozen steamers, sausage, corn, potatoes) and it was disappointing. Aside from the clams and maybe the corn, everything was either bland or mushy. The clams retained their clammines and I quickly finished them off with the provided melted butter. I had even more clam goodness when my seafood wary co-worker offered me hers.
The chicken was bland. No flavor, no seasoning, nada. I’m pretty sure they just threw everything into those containers and steamed them together, which would be fine on a small scale. But there were over 300 people there! I picked at this a bit before moving to the vegetables. Corn was fine, as were the potato and sweet potato. The sausage? Mushy and visually inedible. I didn’t even try. My seafood wary co-worker? She also thought everything was cook together, and wouldn’t touch her chicken. I don’t remember if there were any takers, but it’s a shame she paid all this money and really couldn’t eat her dinner.
Aside from the clam bar, I really can’t recommend this place. I enjoyed seeing my co-workers, but would have much rather met somewhere else that charged much less money and had far better food. If you are considering patronizing Lanthier’s Grove, I  suggest you show up for some of their takeout first and make a better informed decision.


Anonymous said...

Seems as though this is your 1st clam steam. You said you believe everything was cooked together -- well that is the way it is done and the way it is expected by anyone that knows what a "clam steam" is.

Jim said...

I did not know what a clam steam is now that I know I can avoid going there and being disappointed. The last thing I want is everything just cooked together, soggy and tasteless. That is why Joe's crab shack went out of business as well, terrible overpriced food. Thank you understand the copper tree for an honest review.

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