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- Category: Restaurant Reviews
- Written by Brian
A good friend of mine from college loved Iron Gate Cafe, and for some reason I never went back in the day. Today I had a friend from out of town visiting and she wanted a place where she can get a mimosa with breakfast. We hadn't reviewed Iron Gate yet, so off we went. Iron Gate Cafe is right on Washington Ave by Lark St. in Albany It is set back a bit from the street, so it is a little hard to see. Parking is completely street. This review is for their weekend brunch, which is a different menu from their standard fare.
There was a brief wait for a table when we arrived, but it wasn't more than 5 minutes or so. Larger parties should anticipate a wait of around 20 minutes.
I was torn on what to order, so I mentioned a few things to the waitress, and she quickly said, "stuffed french toast", so I ordered that with sausage. Iron Gate's version of stuffed french toast is two pieces of french toast with cheese, a fried egg, and your choice of meat inside. It is served with hash browns. The french toast was cooked well, and thoroughly battered, and it was exactly as described. There was plenty of sausage, but the egg was overdone. The hash browns were good but could have benefited from a little seasoning.
My friend ordered Johnny cakes: cornbread pancakes with blueberries served with your choice of meat. She really enjoyed it, the pancakes were cooked well, had a good cornbread flavor, but weren't too dense. She would order the dish again.
I liked Iron Gate Cafe, it reminded me of Madison Cafe. Kind of Hipster type attitude and staff, with fun twists on typical dishes. Fun place with good food, Iron Gate gets 4 forks. As a fun additional note, we arrived before noon, so they couldn't serve us mimosas, but they took the order, and the second it hit noon, they were on our table.
|Stuffed French Toast (with sausage, egg and cheese inside)||Johnny Cakes with Sausage|
- Category: Restaurant Reviews
- Written by Josie
Chez Mike is located inside a strip mall at 596 Columbia Turnpike in East Greenbush. The decor is made up of warm tones that create an inviting feel, complementing an open floor plan.
Brian and I did our round robin of where to go next for dinner, and Chez Mike was it. Reservations recommended for a Saturday night. When we arrived, we were greeted and sat immediately. Our server came over moments later for our drink orders. After delivering our drinks, she noticed we were still looking over the menu and gave us the appropriate amount of time before checking in to take our meal orders.
Before moving on to the food, I really do need to stress the attentiveness of the service. Not once did we sit waiting for something to be refilled. Nor did we feel rushed. Our server was pleasant, funny, conversational and all around amazing. It was a fantastic experience based off that alone.
Now on to the food! Brian ordered the Pineapple Glazed Baby Back Ribs that came with a Brown Butter Sweet Potato Mash and Chipotle Cole Slaw. I ordered the Lamb Feta Burger (cooked medium) that came with Carmelized Onions and a Roasted Red Pepper Aioli. I substituted the Rosemary Fries for Sweet Potato Mash.
The theme of the food was "SO CLOSE!." Everything was just SO close to being perfect. Brian's ribs were cooke perfectly, falling off the bone, but they lacked flavor in the meat (versus the glaze on top). The sweet potato mash, while cooked well, had too much brown butter which made the side dish very heavy. The cole slaw was perfectly fresh, but there was no chipotle flavor to be found. I also think there was a touch too much mayo. It was a borderline heavy side dish, but still very good.
My burger was similarly so close to perfect. The ciabatta was perfectly soft and fresh. The lamb was juicy, perfectly cooked, and practically fell apart in my mouth. What lacked, surprisingly, was the flavor. With all the condiiments that were on it, I couldn't taste the feta, nor could I taste the distinct sweetness of a roasted red pepper. It was a wonderful vehicle that just didn't realize it's full potential. I ended up putting Brian's cole slaw on my sandwich in order to add some complexity in flavor.
Chez Mike definitely earns a 4 fork rating. The food has amazing potential, and the service is second to none. We'd be interested in visiting again, and exploring more of their offerings.
|Lamb Feta Burger w/ Sweet Potato Mash||Baby Back Ribs w/ Sweet Potato Mash & Cole Slaw|
- Category: Restaurant Reviews
- Written by Josie
Betty Boop's Diner is located at 115 Philip Street in Downtown Albany. The space is quaint, small, and warm. Of course it's also decorated with many things Betty Boop.
Brian and I ventured for breakfast. We weren't feeling the greatest, and hoped a quick and tasty breakfast would do the trick. Unfortunately, instead of quick and tasty, we received slow and mediocre.
Upon entering, a waitress called out from the kitchen to tell us to sit anywhere we liked. After being greeted, and receiving our drinks and menus, it's like our server forgot we were there. We were sitting with our menus closed, waiting to order food for at least ten minutes. Meanwhile, the waitress was serving other tables, returning to the kitchen, and performing other duties while passing us by. She even passed by and looked at our closed menus on her way through. Even some communication of "I'll be right back" would have been nice.
When we finally ordered, Brian and I both ordered the French Toast. In addition, I asked for a side of their homemade Corned Beef Hash. Food was actually out relatively promptly, and we dug in.
The French Toast was a total fail. I can't believe how foreign a concept good French Toast is. The bread was so barely dipped in the batter that it makes me ask the question 'why bother dipping it at all?' In fact, why even have French Toast on the menu? The inside was completely dry as it was untouched by the batter. The only thing that brought flavor to the dish was the cold butter I melted between the bread, the syrup, and the torrent of powdered cinnamon and sugar they douse on top.
By contrast, the Homemade Corned Beef Hash had wonderful flavor. If I was feeling better, I'd have finished the entire side order. There was a nice crunch, and lots of corned beef. I liked that the potatoes were rustically different sized. I could see herbs in the mixture, and while the onion flavor was strong it wasn't too overpowering. A great dish.
Sadly, one good side dish does not warrant a repeat visit to Betty Boop's. After we finished our meals, placing napkins over our plates to indicate we were done, we were again ignored by our waitress. In fact, we hadn't seen her since she dropped off our food. There was no "how is everything." There was no refilling of drinks (I'd have loved a second glass of water). Nothing. It's not as if she was nowhere to be found. She was everywhere. Repeatedly passing by our table. She even dropped off a check at a neighboring table, then went to clean another table next to ours! All done without even looking in our direction.
Finally, Brian asked if we could have our check. She barely even spared us a look when she said "Sure." She was too busy wiping down a table I guess.
Betty Boop gets a 2 fork rating. It would be a 1 fork if not for the tasty hash, but make no mistake, the customer service in that establishment is so deplorable that it's not even worth visiting for the hash unless you pick up an order to go.
|French Toast||Homemade Corned Beef Hash|
- Category: Events
- Written by Kent
Beer, Bourbon, and Bacon Festival announced!
Where: Dutchess County Fairgrounds
When: Saturday, June 21st, 2014
Cost: Ticket Prices Varies. General Admission Ticket purchased before 2/9/14 $30, followed by an increase to $35, followed by an increase to $45, followed by an increase. VIP Tickets available for $75