"There is a really authentic, lazy, slow Southern feeling in Hattie's...that's why all the horse people from millionaires to stable boys love it."
The New York Times
"It all began at Hattie's, a cute little Southern-style restaurant in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Hattie's is better known for its fried chicken (it won a televised "throw-down" with celebrity chef Bobby Flay) than its short wine list, but it carries some attractive choices. In the past, we had ordered a Carmenere from Chile there and it worked well, and since there was a new one on the list, we decided to check it out. Over the course of the next hour, as the wine got air and warmed, an amazing thing happened. It got tighter, far more herbal, with intense smells and tastes of black pepper and green bell pepper. As it happened, those tastes melded perfectly with fried chicken, chicken livers, collard greens and succotash (you know we're both from the South, right?). To us, this simple bottle was a triumph: Even though inexpensive, it remained true to its varietal even as it provided a top layer of friendly fruit that anyone could like. It was a wine with serious character that novices could enjoy and experts could talk about."
-Wall Street Journal
I enjoyed a bottle of Crimson Voodoo with a dinner under the tent on the aforementioned hot August night, when the gumbo of the day ($18) was a jambalaya cousin that featured chicken and andouille sausage (the jambalaya is a thicker dish that adds shrimp). Gumbo starts with a rich, dark roux, the bulwark of soups and sauces, and is also thickened with okra or file powder. It has a nutty, mouth-filling flavor accentuated by its heat, achieved both by temperature and pepper seasoning. There's no question that Jasper does a superb job with the stuff, and I plan to stop back regularly - especially in cold weather - to see what else gets featured in the brew.
I've been tasting a lot of jerk chicken breast ($17) at a variety of restaurants; not surprisingly, Hattie's offers a version that is excellently seasoned and gains even more flavor thanks to the free-range chicken underneath.
Chef Jasper is a Culinary Institute graduate whose real-world experience is even more impressive: he has worked locally at Siro's and in Manhattan at Aureole, the Gotham Bar and Grill and the Gramercy Tavern. We're lucky to have him here, and luckier still that this unmatchable legacy of Hattie Austin's is being kept alive so well.
Featured as the restaurant to eat at in NY Times Splash, Soak and Sip
"...they went for the atmosphere—the checked cloths on the tables, the chipping lime-green paint on the wooden chairs, (and) the framed photographs of Cab Calloway and Jackie Robinson."
-Food & Wine
"This Place epitomizes Southern charm, with overhead fans, checkered tablecloths, a banging screen door and a wall of testimonials to the woman who ran the restaurant for almost six decades—Hattie Moseley Austin."
-Bon Appetit Magazine
"At down-home Hattie's...old jazz and R&B provide the perfect backdrop for Southern dishes..."
-New York Post