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We decided to make the best of Schenectady Restaurant Week and try a few places we haven't been before. On this busy Friday evening, we decided to visit The Van Dyck Restaurant and Lounge. Restaurant week features an appetizer, an entree and a dessert for a set price of $20.13
Keep in mind that restaurants are usually booked solid and quite busy for restaurant week, and on top of that, this was a Friday night.
For our appetizers, I orderd the Mini Pork Shanks (pork shanks with an apple cider glaze) and my date ordered the Fried Calamari (calamari strips, fried and topped with a chipotle lime aioli). We also moved to their normal menu to try something they typically offer - the Dip Trio -$12 (you pick three dips from the list, it comes with chips). My pork shanks were cooked perfectly, nice and juicy, and the glaze was a great flavor, but it was very viscous. It suck to the plate and to your teeth, it took away from the dish. The fried calamari was crispy and tender but lacked favor. The aioli had a good flavor, and made the dish, we wish they hadn't used it so sparingly. For the dip trio, we picked buffalo chicken, crab, and spinach with artichoke. The chips are all made in house, and they aren't your typical tortilla chips. These are light, crispy and kind of fall apart in your mouth. Amazing. This appetizer was the highlight of our meal. In fact we ate too much of it, and were pretty much full before our entree arrived.
For our entree, we both got the Fried Grouper. It was described as 8 oz. grouper filet lightly fried in Cajun seasoning with strawberry salsa and creamy risotto. I liked the dish, but it had several mistakes in it. First off, the grouper was deep fried, not lightly fried. It was crispy, so much so that if there was cajun seasoning on it, it was long gone before it saw the plate. The risotto was slightly undercooked and very bland, still worked well with the fish, but not good on it's own. The strawberry salsa was pretty much strawberries and red onions, the two compliment each other in this salsa, but the salsa itself didn't really fit with the dish.
We were way too full for dessert, so we each took Tiramisu home and haven't tried it yet.
Service was good, they were incredibly busy, but our waitress always had a smile on her face. She was quite knowledgable on their normal menu, and stopped by a few times to make sure we were doing ok.
I consider restaurant week to be a sampling of a restaurants potential, some places utilize it to promote themselves, others just to make some money. I feel like Van Dyck tried to show you what they had to offer, but missed the mark a little bit. The bright side, is that I loved the one dish we ordered off of the restaurant week menu, so much so that I'll be back to try them again.
Note: cost per plate below is based on their normal menu.
|Fried Calamari and Mini Pork Shanks||Dip Trio|
|Fried Grouper over risotto with strawberry salsa|