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Midtown Tap and Tea Room

We decided to try the Midtown Tap and Tea room on a Friday after work. Located at 289 New Scotland Avenue in Albany and with parking in the rear of the restaurant, it was an easy location to travel to from downtown. After having read a review from a few years about it being a bit run down and dusty, I was delighted to find a fresh, clean and tidy bar and restaurant. It was a bit empty for 5 pm on Friday, but by the time we left at 6:30, it was hopping. After being seated immediately, I inquired about the Happy Hour specials and learned that the beer on tap was $4. The newly acquired and locally made Nine Pin Cider was on tap, but not included in the special, but I decided to try it anyway. My friend got the citrusy Sauvignon Blanc. I’m happy to say that both drinks were delicious. The crispy and aromatic cider has inspired me to make a visit to the new local cidery down on Broadway for tasting hours very soon.

My friend and I opted to share several of their small plates, which ranged in price from $10 to $14. It took us a bit of time to narrow down our order because several of the dishes looked wonderful. We settled on the Lobster Calzones, the Spicy Chipotle Shrimp Tacos and the Ahi Tuna Crisps. Additionally, she decided to try the Roasted Tomato Bisque with Parmesan Crostini. The bisque was excellent. I don’t love tomato soups in general, but the spoonful I tried would inspire me to order it next time.

The Lobster Calzones were a pleasant surprise. The filling was very good, but the buttery, flaky pasta it was enclosed in was outstanding. The calzones were topped with a fresh roasted yellow tomato sauce, and came with an arugula salad perfectly dressed with a refreshing vinaigrette and candied nuts. It was our favorite dish of the lot. Next we got the Spicy Chipotle Shrimp tacos. While they were missing the expected chipotle heat, the tacos were delicious. The roasted corn salsa had an excellent depth of flavor, the cilantro lime and avocado sauce tasted very fresh and the shrimp were cooked just right. Last and unfortunately least, we were served the Ahi Tuna Crisps. The wonton crisps themselves were very good, but everything they were topped with was very disappointing. The slaw was barely kissed with the tangy sauce, the tuna was woefully overcooked and worst of all, the whole thing was drenched in wasabi dressing. Even when I scraped a good deal of the sauce off, the dish was barely palatable.

Since the name of the establishment referenced tea, we asked to see the tea and dessert menu. There wasn’t a large selection of either, but the teas listed looked very intriguing and we were impressed to learn that they were crafted locally by DiviniTea, a local shop in Schenectady. We chose the African Elixer and the White Melon, and decided to split the Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee. The teas are loose leaf and offered by the cup or pot. Both teas were aromatic and delicious, and the White Melon in particular made us wistful for Spring. While small in portion, the Crème Brulee was decadent.  

We are happy to give Midtown Tap and Tea room 4 forks. I will definitely return to try more of their offerings. The service was attentive and friendly. While perusing their Facebook page, I noticed they frequently post pictures of their specials, which all look inventive and mouth-watering. My friend and I were particularly impressed that they feature food from local artisans and the wait staff were knowledgeable and enthusiastic about them.

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                                Lobster Calzones                                        Chipotle Shrimp Tacos

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                           Ahi Tuna Crisps                                              Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee