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The Frugal Forager: 132 Glen Bistro’s creative cuisine surprises and delights

Sunday, March 18, 2012
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The 132 Glen Bistro in Glens Falls offers an ever-changing and creative menu. (photo: BEVERLY M. ELANDER/FOR THE SUNDAY GAZETTE)
The 132 Glen Bistro in Glens Falls offers an ever-changing and creative menu. (photo: BEVERLY M. ELANDER/FOR THE SUNDAY GAZETTE)

— If you find yourself in Glens Falls and hungry, I recommend you head for 132 Glen St. and the 132 Glen Bistro, where the menus change daily and are noteworthy for their tempting and creative offerings.

On our recent visit, we found on the luncheon menu such dishes as Boston Blue Fish, blackened or herb baked, Shrimp and Scallop in Pesto Cream Sauce with Penne and Crab Cakes with Scallion Aioli.

The menu for that evening featured Shelled Maine Lobster in Lemon Butter, Panéed Tilapia with Crabmeat Sherry Sauce and a Filet Mignon with Mushroom Marsala Sauce. Entrée prices ranged from $12 to $25.50 (for the lobster) on the dinner menu and from $9 to $12.50 for lunch choices.

It’s not a new place. Kevin Bethel, who had extensive experience at other restaurants, and his wife, Patty, purchased the 19th century brick building and spent some time renovating it before they opened for business more than a decade ago.

132 Glen Bistro

WHERE: 132 Glen St., Glens Falls. 743-9138, www.132glenbistro.com

WHEN: Lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; dinner 4:30 to 10 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday

OTHER INFO: Major credit cards accepted; handicapped accessible

COST: $35.96

BIG WALL MURAL

From the outside, you might take it for a diner. But, it’s much more than that with its contemporary menu full of pleasant surprises and eclectic and kitschy decor that includes mismatched tablecloths, retro-looking furniture and an epic wall mural depicting the old Rockwell Hotel, which once stood where Hudson Avenue intersects with “Centennial Circle,” a pretty euphemism for the traffic roundabout in the heart of downtown.

It’s an upbeat place where the affable chef-owner is likely to emerge from the kitchen and eat his own lunch at an adjoining table, as he did on the day we visited.

Here’s another reason I like 132 Glen Bistro: Kevin Bethel bakes fresh bread every day, and it differs from day to day, depending on what he feels like, our server explained. Patty Bethel makes the desserts, which on the day we visited included chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, a prospect that enthralled me briefly but I ultimately resisted.

The soups also are all made on the premises, and Beverly and I promptly decided to try two of them — the Kielbasa and Navy Bean for me and the Crab and Clam Chowder for her. At $3 per cup, and accompanied by warm, yeasty bread and oyster crackers, they were a real bargain. Both were delicious stick-to-your-ribs concoctions and they warmed us up quickly on a winter day.

Beverly ordered a Greek salad with anchovies ($8.50) as her main dish, and it was a treat to behold as well as to eat, a mixture of fresh greens, tomatoes, red onions, black olives, feta and two kinds of dressing on the side — a classic Greek and an Italian. (The Greek dressing won out easily).

SAVORY STEAK SALAD

I was easily persuaded to order the nostalgic Steak and Crumbled Bleu Cheese salad — a mixture of greens with tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives, red onions, crumbled blue cheese and easily 8 ounces of savory sliced steak, cooked to a perfect medium rare. A blue cheese dressing was served on the side, and I was a most happy fellow.

Next time I visit, I want to try the Pan-Seared Salmon with Citrus Vanilla Butter, which was listed at $12.50 on the luncheon menu or the Eggplant Napoleon ($15) on the dinner menu.

In a phone interview after our visit, Kevin Bethel pointed out the $12 dinner specials that they offer on Wednesday and Thursday nights, which are popular among their customers. We had visited on a Wednesday and the menu I carted off with me listed those specials as Vegetable Baked Lasagna, Grilled Prime Rib, Baked Boston Blue with Light Herb Crust, Chicken Parmesan or Roast Pork.

The luncheon menu offers a variety of sandwich choices, all priced at $9 — such as the Grilled Cuban Mix, a Turkey, Cheddar, Tomato and Pesto on Focaccia or, for those not looking for meat, California Avocado with Cheddar, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion and Scallion Aioli.

Our server was both helpful with our questions and pleasantly attentive. Our tab for soups, salads and sodas came to $35.96 with tax and tip.

We left in a better mood than when we arrived and promised ourselves we would return soon.

NAPKIN NOTES

Restaurant servers often don’t ask, or are apologetic when they do ask, if we want anchovies with our Greek salad or on our pizza. They need not be with us. We like anchovies, with their salty-nutty flavor, and consider them an integral part of a Greek salad or any pizza worth ordering.

 
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