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Quick Bite near Times Union Center - Albany

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fischtail May 11, 2009 06:59 AM

Hi - we're going to the Springsteen show at the Times Union Center in Albany this week ... looking for a quick bite before the concert. I'd prefer walking distance so we only have to park once but I'm flexible on that. No preference on food type, just something tasty, not fancy and quick. Any suggestions?

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  1. NYchowcook RE: fischtail May 11, 2009 07:35 AM

    This has been discussed before; check out
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/453854

    The restaurants near the arena are going to be jammed -- so make a reservation -- I suggest Lombardo's on Madison Ave. Decent old-world red sauce Italian. It's easy walking distance.

    There are also more restaurants that have opened up on Pearl St to the north of the arena, though walk-in will be tough since it's a big arena.

    Van's is great for pho and other Vietnamese -- and quick -- if you're comfortable driving just a bit.

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    Lombardo's Restaurant
    121 Madison Ave, Albany, NY 12202

    Van's Vietnamese Restaurant
    307 Central Ave, Albany, NY 12206

    1. NYchowcook RE: fischtail May 11, 2009 07:54 AM

      I have to add El Mariachi for very good Mexican. Corn soup, guacamole, gorditas (chorizo is great!), chimichangas. The Hamilton Street location (walking distance to arena) also offers Spanish fare.

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      El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant
      144 Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12210

      El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant
      289 Hamilton St, Albany, NY 12210

      1. jspear RE: fischtail May 11, 2009 08:10 AM

        Jack's Oysterhouse is a great resto with a variety of food McGeary's is also close and good pub food. There are many many places to go and see, I think Nicole's Bistro and Albany Pump Station are all close enough.....

        4 Replies
        1. re: jspear
          NYchowcook RE: jspear May 11, 2009 08:57 AM

          Dale Miller left as chef of Jack's Oyster House to open his own place in May '09. Jack's is an institution; kinda formal and not quick. Not bad, not great. It's a close walk; you'd probably want a reservation.

          Nicole's Bistro is very good, formal and not quick.
          Albany pump station is big with great beer, and so-so pub fare.

          1. re: NYchowcook
            f
            fischtail RE: NYchowcook May 11, 2009 11:26 AM

            I was actually thinking about Dale Miller's new place since it looks like he's serving some small plates and that might be good and quick at the bar. I like the idea of Vietnamese though... we did Lombardi's last time we saw Bruce up there and I had a big full belly of pasta. Of course that's because it was good and I ate too much :-)

            1. re: fischtail
              jspear RE: fischtail May 11, 2009 11:54 AM

              you will get what you want in the quantity you want at Jack's, just let them know your time constraints, we have done them before shows a lot. Same with Nicole's, just let them know what you might want in the time you have, both have been very accommodating in past visits. Pub food is always so so but I think the pump station can go above normal for wings, salads and specials and their usual menu has some great quick bites. They are big, however and on concert nights, it can be inconsistently slow to stopped, we have been late using them in the past but generally, it is a great choice for pre-show. I think Dale's new place may be a good idea but again, busy and if you want quick, you might want to avoid. Anyplace in the area will be busy so keep that in mind, as you have experience with the area, and plan accordingly......

              1. re: fischtail
                NYchowcook RE: fischtail May 11, 2009 12:27 PM

                If you like Vietnamese, you should *love* Van's. Not for the decor, but for the hyper-deliciousness. The pho will have you singing from the flavor, and no danger of a big belly full-o pasta (unless you order the vermicelli with fried spring rolls and shrimp which is something I always try *not* to 'cause it's so yummy, and I figure while I'm at a great pho place that is what I should have since it's healthier) You can always get a starter of spring/summer rolls. And try the Vietnamese coffee after the meal.
                And -- get this -- it's downright cheap!

                Van's is far enough away from the Bruce scene that you shouldn't have a problem getting served and out in a timely fashion. Even when they're busy, they hustle. Then after dinner you just drive down Central Ave toward downtown until you hit the traffic jam heading for the Boss! 5-10 minutes, not counting getting into the parking lot.

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