As I peruse Instagram on any given day, I am presented with the challenge of choosing which weeknight special I am going to decide upon. I know, it's a terrible conundrum. Now this “special” goes beyond your typical happy hour, although often includes it, and into the realm of featured menu items and discounts, giving the perfect opportunity to try a new place, sample a new dish and get a great deal.
This past week, I was won over by The Mouzon House's “Burger & Beer” deal on Wednesday nights: for $18, you get their loaded lamb burger, sourced locally from Elihu farm, a side of crispy truffled frites and house made pickles as well as your choice of a beer or a glass of select wine. While $18 might still sound steep for burger night, you should know that this isn't your typical patty melt...
Let me start, though, by setting the scene, because a large part of the appeal of The Mouzon House is the house itself. Built in 1883, the house survived urban sprawl and development all thanks to it's second owner Ardel Mouzon, who fought to protect the home, one of the first pioneers of preservation in Saratoga. Ardel's daughter Mia Mouzon took over the home and was the first woman of color to graduate from Skidmore College in the 1930's. Now, the home is owned by the Pedinotti family, who restored the original Victorian charm of the home and added stunning murals to its walls which depict the Mouzon women. The murals and the décor of the house add a sultry sense of decadence and artfulness that echo the New Orleans, french vibe of the cuisine.
The food at Mouzon is not only based in creole though, as the owners and chefs here are also serious about maintaining a farm-to-table atmosphere and keeping the menu fresh and seasonal; which seems fitting as the house presides over High Rock Park and the location for the summer Farmers Market. Executive chef David Pedinotti began working the Saratoga Springs culinary scene in 1995 when he and his wife Dianne opened One Caroline Street Bistro. The family ran the Bistro for ten years before deciding to open the Mouzon House in 2005, where his creole and Italian influences met to form the rich and varied menu. With a penchant for local and organic as well as a preference for the rich and flavorful, the Mouzon House's menu regularly changes and infuses these influences into Southern classics like shrimp & grits and catfish etouffee as well as Italian dishes like Lamb Bolognese and greens & beans.
With the “house” aspect of the restaurant intact, the multiple dining rooms, upstairs and downstairs, add a cozy and, well, homey vibe the scene. That and the indoor/outdoor bar with gas fireplace offers a spacious and cool spot to grab a drink. The cocktail (or libation) menu here does not disappoint either. Right off the bat you have a Mouzon-rita with beet and jalapeno infused simple syrupand then for the floral folks, the Violet Sage Bees Knees, with sage infused gin, violet liqueur and local honey. And don't forget your classic New Orleans Sazerac or Pomegranate punch (what I like to think of as a much classier ode to Pat O'Brien's famous Hurricane).
To get back to the subject at hand here, I chose a simple Malbec to pair with my burger. This burger, made with local lamb, is topped with roasted red peppers and smoked provolone and is exploding with flavor. Like I said, not a typical patty. On the side, you have your perfectly crispy and thin-cut frites tossed lightly with truffle oil as well as Mouzon's insane house-made pickles. I have to admit, I don't normally eat lamb, but for this, I made an exception and I sure am glad I did. The lamb lends a more distinct flavor to the creation and cooked medium, is still so tender and juicy that the bun became somewhat absorbed by the burger. No complaints here.
As a (not so light) side dish, I ordered the crawfish beignets, because, when in Rome...
If you can't make it on Wednesday for the burger deal, Monday's at the Mouzon are for $1 oysters on the half shell and Thursday's are for ½ off bottles of wine... wander over and stay a while.