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Albany

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Hi fellow chowhounders,
I never get on this particular forum (I'm in MD, however am a native from NYC). I have a question regarding Albany in general and good places for food. Here's the scenario....

My neice who is in Boston, and her husband who is in Albany in the Navy in Nuclear school for subs , will be spending their time together after Christmas (he has to be in school/work during the holiday). I thought a nice Christmas gift would be to give them a night out at a restaurant so they wouldn't have to cook one night. (she will only have a short time to spend with him as she has to get back to Boston for grad school as does he for his school/work).

So, is Albany a large city? Are there any recommendations on restaurants? (at this point, cuisine doesn't matter - I'll find that out from her mom what they prefer). What I don't want to do is send them a million miles away for a night out, as they are newlyweds and I'm sure they would want to get home quickly LOL! Or, now that I think about it, maybe a catered dinner at home??

Any ideas, suggestions? Thanks in advance... I'm sure you guys are as awesome as the Mid-Atlantic folks!

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  1. Need some clarity in your request. The nuclear school for subs is not in Albany, it's west of Saratoga Springs. Are they living in Albany, with him commuting, or are they living somewhere in Saratoga. Are you looking for Albany recommendations, or Saratoga recommendations. Either way, there are a whole host of previous posts on this blog for each location.

    1. Oh my, I'm not sure. The family just refers to Albany (maybe that's the closest airport??) I know nothing about the area at all, hence, my request. She's in Boston and will just be visitng after Christmas. How far away is Saratoga Springs from Albany? I'll ask my sister if she can find out information without being "nosey". I want it to be a surprise for the newlyweds. Thanks for the information.

      14 Replies
      1. re: cbauer

        Chances are they live in Navy housing in Saratoga county somewhere, about 45 minutes north of Albany. A Saratoga Springs restaurant is your best bet, without knowing their current address. If they live closer to Albany, they won't mind coming to the Saratoga Springs. Lots of Saratoga Springs recommendations on this board. For a restaurant that will provide a festive and romantic evening, where they'll fuss some over the couple, I'd recommend 28 Tables, One Caroline if they like jazz, Sperry's, Maestro's, maybe Capriccio or Prime.

        -----
        Sperry's Restaurant
        30 Caroline St, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

        One Caroline Street Bistro
        1 Caroline Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

        Maestro's - A Fine American Bistro
        371 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

        Prime at Saratoga National
        458 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

        Capriccio Saratoga
        32 Henry St, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

        1. re: PSZaas

          Thank you so much. That is awesome. I'm getting more info from my sister to find out exactly where he lives.I'm pretty sure he's not in Navy housing, I think he's renting a house with a couple of other guys. I'll keep you guys posted. The romance place sounds great.

          1. re: PSZaas

            He's with KAPL: http://www.knollslab.com/index.html

            S. Springs is your best bet.

            Second Saratoga National, Capriccio Saratoga, Maestro's and Sperry's. Of these, Saratoga National is the most upscale.

            PSZaas, FYI something's up with 28 Tables. Not sure if Ronnie is still at the helm . . .That said, I think 28 Tables has the most romantic atmosphere. Ask for a table in the corner by one of the windows facing Broadway.

            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              Prime is definitely the most upscale, but not the most romantic, I think, kind of cavernous and cold. Trying to make a recommendation that meets the OP's needs; 28 Tables is romantic (although not as good as its tiny predecessor.)

              1. re: PSZaas

                PSZaas, I agree Saratoga National is on the cold side. Typical steakhouse, clubby atmosphere. One of my favorites for food, though.

                A table in front of the fireplace or in a corner might work.

                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                  Why bother, when there are restaurants that more closely fit what the OP needs? A young couple, some good drinks, maybe some music, a cozy room; it's not always about the best (or most expensive) food. I like Prime, top-notch ingredients, very good bar and professional service, but it's lacking a kind of comfort that I'm mostly looking for in a night out.

              2. re: financialdistrictresident

                I can't say we found 28 Tables to be romantic. Certainly not the Thursday evening when we were there and 4 very large parties filled the dining room. Maybe those window seats on a slow night, or the table in the wine room, but otherwise I'd go for Maestro's, Sperry's, Mouzon House, or Capriccio Saratoga if I wanted a chance at some intimate atmosphere.

                1. re: Roger K

                  Roger K, I agree if there are large parties at 28 Tables it can be noisy if you don't get a seat near the window. The bar with the curtains, the dimly lit dining room and the live piano music add to the ambience IMHO. It's much better than their former location which was so small (8 tables) and loud it was hard to enjoy a meal.

                  OP did not mention price range, type of cuisine or whether the gift recipeints are into food or simple eaters. I do not find Maestro's atmosphere to be intimate or romantic. That said it's a nice middle ground between casual and formal. The food is very good, reasonably priced and menu has broad appeal. Might be a good choice since OP doesn't know that much about his niece and wants to keep it a surprise :)

                2. re: financialdistrictresident

                  FDR, I recalled you mentioning "Not sure if Ronnie is still at the helm." During my lunch today with friends at Saratoga Quintessence, one of them just happened to mention that 28 Tables has changed hands. I don't recall if he said this happened in the last 2 weeks or the last 2 months. In any event, he said that Ron has gone to Florida. It didn't sound like it was for a vacation or a seasonal change.

                  1. re: Roger K

                    Thanks, Roger K. I emailed friends who know Farber and they never responded . . .

                    I wonder if there's been anything on Steve Barnes blog?

                    It will be interesting to see what happens to the food.

                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                      My wife was there last week for a business meeting and said the food was very good. I think she had sea bass.

                      I don't recall seeing anything on the TH blog.

                      1. re: Roger K

                        Thanks for the update, Roger K. Ran into a friend who frequents Twenty 8 Tables and she said Farber is definitely gone.

                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                          Cheryl Clark's negative review of Sangwych from yesterday's TU (http://www.timesunion.com/living/arti... ) has some details.

                          1. re: PSZaas

                            Thanks, PSZaas.

            2. OK - just found out, his address is in Greenfield. Help me out here. I have no idea where that is. Thanks guys!

              4 Replies
              1. re: cbauer

                Closest to Saratoga

                1. re: cbauer

                  Now that we know where he is located, I would recommend Chianti, Maestro's, or Sperry's, all in Saratoga Springs.

                  1. re: cbauer

                    Greenfield is about 5-10 minutes due west of Saratoga Springs. So any of the recommended Saratoga restaurants that have popped up in the various responses to your initial query would do very nicely. My personal choice would be Chianti's, but any of the others are fine. Certainly Sperry's or Maestros are also up there as very good restaurants. Prime at Saratoga National, I think, would probably be the priciest of the bunch. I'm sure there are websites for all of the recommended places

                    1. re: trakman

                      You guys are great. Looks like I have some research to do! Thank you all!

                  2. A long thread with the best of Saratoga Springs restaurants:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/509653

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                      You guys are great. I'm researching all the places you all have mentioned. The menu's look really good and I think I'll have a hard time deciding!