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Albany Graduation Celebration for 8

Looking for a place to go after commencement at SUNY in Dec. It is on a Sunday. There will be about 8 of us. Commencement will get over around 3:30 pm.

My initial thought is the Pump Station. We've been there before and liked it.

Any thoughts or recommendations?

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  1. Congratulations to the grads. Price range and cuisine? Are you looking for a restaurant near SUNY?

    4 Replies
    1. re: financialdistrictresident

      Thanks for all the suggestions, you've helped me ask myself exactly what am I looking for.
      Provence looks nice but their online menu doesn't have prices (ouch!)
      Price range I guess at the high end around $450 for a group of 8.
      The recommendations for Italian all sound good: Buca di Beppo, Carmine's, Carabba's. Are these all about the same in terms of menu and price?

      You all have given me lots to think about. Thank you very much.

      1. re: Bumstead

        Buca is a chain and less expensive, carmines is a little more price, carabba's, also a chain is slightly less pricey than carmine's but not much but harder to get seated even with a call ahead. I think you would be best served at Carmines for price and ease of access from SUNY and a firm reservation.....Provence is too expensive for your budget, carmines may be as well but they will be close. We usually eat for around 60 per without a lot of alcohol.....

        1. re: jspear

          Carmine's is better then Buca (chain red sauce Italian). The chef is also a TV star and there is a studio on premises. That could be fun. I have not been to Carabba's.

          1. re: financialdistrictresident

            You can ask for the star (carmine) to cook for you, at least you used to be able to, in an in the round kind of thing. Might make it even more interesting but it will make it more expensive.....

    2. Ha, I am starting to think about the same thing for the same event! I was thinking of Buca di Beppo because my daughter liked the place when she was taken there by a family of a friend after the last graduation. But I was also thinking of going to Albany Pump Station the night before because I love their peanut wings and I figure I won't be back to Albany anytime soon.

      Pump Station is not all that convenient to SUNY, especially if you're going in multiple cars and the others don't know Albany. Buca di Beppo is across from the Colonie Center so it should be easier to find.

      Another option is the place that is replacing Mangia at Stuyvesant Plaza, Creo (http://www.creorestaurant.com ). It's definitely more convenient that the other choices.

      10 Replies
      1. re: MisterBill2

        MisterBill2 we ate at Buca di Beppo (me for the first time) recently. It was pretty good. Definitely better then the Olive Garden chain. I have not been to Creo' yet but started a thread so hopefully someone who has been will report back. Provence is another option in Stuyvesant Plaza (close to SUNY, easy parking). Provence is on www.opentable.com. Not sure if Provence would work since OP did not post cuisine or price preferences.

        You might want to look at this long TOP NY CAPITAL REGION thread for ideas:

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/349608

        1. re: financialdistrictresident

          Provence has seemed rather pricey when I have checked their menu in the past. I don't really want to spend that much.

          1. re: MisterBill2

            Thanks, MisterBill2. If you give a cuisine preference and price range (considering alcohol, tax, tip) it helps us make appropriate suggestions.

          2. re: financialdistrictresident

            I have not been to Creo, but from what I've seen, it is out of the budget range.

            1. re: adventuresinbaking

              Hi adventures, we did try Creo and were impressed overall. The price range is definitely high (70+ per) but the place wowed us, great drinks and wine, great apps and great service. I really liked McGuires and they have taken the best of that and added to it. We will be back......

          3. re: MisterBill2

            I have had two large family/friend meals at the Buca di Beppo on Wolf Road and I would highly recommend it. They can do very large tables, the food is family style on large platters, and there are enough choices for carnivores and vegetarians to both be happy. The hardest part is deciding which dishes to order. It's a lot of fun, and nobody cares if your group is noisy. It's convenient to SUNY, especially if you go right up Fuller Rd to Central.

            1. re: MisterBill2

              I would second the recommendation for Creo - it's nearby, the prices are reasonable, and the food is much better and (to me) more interesting than a place like Buca di Beppo. But I have been to Buca di Beppo w/ a big group and it was fun - if your group is not populated w/ foodies, they may quite like that.)

              We actually had our rehearsal dinner at the Pump Station, but i have been a bit disapponted in the food the last couple of times I was in, and it isn't very convenient.

              What kind of food does the graduate like?

              1. re: meg944

                We went to Buca and had great fun. The kids (excuse me, young men) loved it and the food was better than I expected it to be. The 3 liter bottle of Chianti was on its last dregs by the time we left.

                1. re: Bumstead

                  We also went to Buca and everyone enjoyed it (well, maybe not my mother-in-law, they did not have soup for her - lunch only, and she wanted dessert and I refused to order it because everyone else was stuffed, some of our party had to drive back to Westchester and my daughter had a meeting to go to on campus).I thought the food was pretty decent, everyone enjoyed it. Three of my party were very picky eaters (my daughter and two adults, it really bothers me when you get to be middle aged and still refuse to eat stuff like eggplant and mushrooms) but we were still able to find things to order.

                  Only thing that upset me (after the fact) is that I had signed up for their mailing list on their site a week before we went, and they promised me an email coupon right away. Well, it did not show up until this week. It was for a free small appetizer, which I definitely could have used.

                2. re: meg944

                  meg944, here's a thread on Creo':

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/567921

              2. I would try Carmines on Central Ave...

                1. If you are looking for more upscale dinners the Barnsider in Colonie is a great location and they take reservations for 6 or more people. Also, as the other person indicated Carmine's on Central Avenue is good as is Carabbas in Latham. If you are looking for a burger type place Pump Station is great as you had suggested. Also, the Italian Community Center on upper Washington Ave. Extension is excellent for dinners.

                  1. where did you end up????

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jspear

                      Graduation is not until December.

                    2. So where did you decide on? We are going to Buca, made a 4pm reservation.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MisterBill2

                        Buca also. I like the idea of family style and several strong recommendations (here and from friends) convinced me. Carmine's looked intriguing but I'll save that for a time when I'm not paying for the Ex!

                        ps. Wouldn't happen to have an extra ticket would you?

                      2. My assistant went to school there and her boyfriend was a chef in the area. They suggest:
                        Gingerman for american fare mid price good atmosphere - would definately need a reservation for party of 8. "Only thing missing is a fireplace"
                        Cafe Capriccio for more fine dining, dressier.
                        Good Luck!

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: reevek

                          Cafe Capriccio is one of our favorites. Yono's and Cafe Capriccio are two of the best restaurants in downtown Albany and the price point reflects that. I am not familiar with the Gingerman and must check it out.

                          1. re: reevek

                            reevek, we may try Creo' in Stuyvesant Plaza this weekend. You might want to add it to your list. It's more casual and a lower price point then Cafe Capriccio. Provence in Stuyvesant Plaza is also nice.

                            1. re: financialdistrictresident

                              Provence misses the mark for cheaper food.....

                              1. re: jspear

                                Thanks, jspear. Good to know since I have only been to Provence for lunch.

                                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                  same food costs as sister spot, in latham, Milano

                                  1. re: jspear

                                    jspear, I have not been to Milano, but SO has. Funny but we ended up at Provence for dinner Friday night. It was good, a mellow scene with live jazz. We had foies gras and escargot apps, duck and bouillebase entrees. Quite good. Not a Tosca or Yono's. . .

                                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                      We like the Buca di Beppo in Albany. They seem to know how to handle large parties. Carrabba's food is extremely salty. It is not bad, but in the last year or two they cut down portion size, including their wine service.

                                      ~Fred19