By Jill nagy
The owners of the three-year-old Seneca restaurant in Saratoga Springs, recently opened a new venture called Rhea, at 389 Broadway.
Rhea features a “heavily Asian inspired” menu, according to Mike Spain who, along with wife, Michelle Spain, and other investors, owns both restaurants.
Rhea, in the buidling that was once the Stadium, offers ramen-style noodle dishes as well as shareable small plates, fried rice, chicken, bao buns (steamed buns), udon noodles, seaweed-cured eggs yolk, and similar dishes.
Mike Spain said although the dishes have an Asian flavor, Rhea is not, strictly speaking an Asian restaurant. “We do our best to respect the ingredients and techniques,” he said, but put their own spin on the dishes.
In developing the noodle shop concept, “the team fell in love with ramen,” Spain said, a seemingly simple dish that includes a homemade broth that takes several days to create.
When Spain attended the Culinary Institute of America some 10 was ago, the curriculum included three-week courses on the culture and ingredients of various cuisines. He developed his interest in Asian cooking at that time, he said.
He described the menu at Seneca, the couple’s first restaurant, as “new American.” It features ingredients from local farmers and other suppliers, much of it prepared on a wood-fired grill. That restaurant is located at 17 Division St. in Saratoga Springs.
Rhea has a 30-seat bar and can seat another 50 people at its booths and cocktail tables. Spain said they are working on developing an outdoor seating area as well. They have a full liquor license at both sites.
A staff of 50 works at both restaurants, including a lot of employees who cook. The Spains are at both locations every day. “We were very fortunate in finding staff,” Mike Spain reflected, “It’s a great crew.”
They are open Wednesday through Sunday, from 5 p.m. to closing—usually 9 or 10 p.m., with the bars open a bit later. The telephone number is 518 886-8962.