Restaurant & Catering
Western Ave., Guilderland, 452-6342. Serving lunch Mon-Sat
11-4, dinner Mon-Sat 4-9. AE, D, MC, V.
Mediterranean and then some
price range: $13 (dolmas platter) to $18 (Mediterranean
bright and cheerful
A good Mediterranean restaurant by default is well-positioned
to offer healthy fare: The tradition of the many seaside cuisines
that comprise this category is to cook with fresh ingredients
and olive oil and an array of bold-flavored extras.
So it only made sense for Shaw Rabadi, chef-owner of BFS Restaurant,
to stress the heart-healthy items on his menu. But he did
more than that. He devised a regular array of such items to
feature on a separate menu page.
If the chicken florentine ($17) is any indication, this menu
might give healthful food an even better name. You’d swear
it was deep fried, but the crisp coating is baked onto the
bird and topped with a glaze of pomegranate jelly for a mouth-filling
combination of flavors. Inside the breast is a creamed spinach
mixture; under the breast is a fat-free sauce that’s nevertheless
full of persistent appeal. Basmati rice laced with pine nuts
and a big slice of spanikopita finish the plate.
Other items on that menu page are a shrimp-and-scallops mix
over ziti ($16), grilled swordfish steak ($16), beef and shrimp
kabobs ($16) and an $18 Mediterranean sampler that gives you
hummus, tabouleh, spanikopita, baked kibbee, moussaka, stuffed
grape leaves and more.
This has long been a BFS specialty, these Mediterranean items.
Hummus, which I tasted as part of the appetizer menu’s mini
maza sampler ($8), has a garlic-infused freshness about
it, and you’ll use up plenty of the pita wedges served in
lieu of bread. (It’s presented with some butter containers,
but you’ll want to dredge the pita through the dish of olive
oil spiced with zataar and sesame seeds for better
The appetizer sampler also includes a ball of kibbee, which
features sautéed ground lamb within a hard shell of lamb and
bulghur wheat, an amazing confluence of flavors. A spinach
pocket is just that: a pastry shell with a seasoned spinach
filling; a couple of stuffed grape leaves, some salad greens,
and a traditional tzatziki (cucumber-yogurt) sauce finish
Any of those items serves as an individual appetizer, along
with such delights as baked brie or goat cheese ($6.75 apiece),
grilled portobello mushrooms ($7), and even a trio of different
hummus styles ($10).
Lunchtime features an array of sandwiches, hot and cold, familiar
and abstruse, for $7 or $8. A page of stuffed wraps range
from hummus, tuna or deli meats to roasted leg of lamb, battered
eggplant and much more.
Other lunch specials fall into the $10 range, including a
grilled vegetable platter, a shawarma (gyro) platter
built around a kind of meatloaf made with lamb and beef, spanikopita,
ziti, lasagna, a falafel platter and more.
Falafel is another BFS specialty. Deep-fried mashed chickpeas
are served with a seasoned tahini sauce in pita bread or over
salad greens, and I sampled it in the guise of a salad ($7.75).
This is the basis of a wonderful meal all by itself, with
the crunchy falafel pieces strewn across a plate of crisp,
A dozen more salads help fill the page, including Caesar salads
with different additions, antipasto salad and much more, good
enough for lunch or dinner right there.
Rabadi left a long career as an accounting consultant to turn
an on-the-side catering business into a full-time storefront-based
activity. It started life as a deli, but so great was the
clamor for tables that he soon moved down the street to a
larger location with a dining area.
no longer carry all of the deli items and imported goods we
used to have,” he says, “but there are some things people
always insist I carry.” I know the feeling: I’m a big fan
of the tahini you find at BFS.
The place also could persuade me to turn vegetarian—at least
temporarily. Although most of the menu categories feature
meatless items, there’s also a full page of vegetarian fare.
For kabob fans, there’s a skewer of eggplant, peppers and
mushrooms ($14) that’s grilled and served over rice.
Five different pasta sauces are available for the pasta sauté
($16): Mediterranean, pesto, pomodoro, puttanesca and creamy
Alfredo. Under the fish listing are traditional items like
seafood stuffed sole ($16) and more adventurous dishes like
a baked shrimp casserole prepared in a Greek style ($16).
Greek eggplant and lamb casserole ($16), or moussaka, mixes
savory and sweet with a pudding-like béchamel sauce baked
atop the more pungent casserole. Roasted red potatoes with
a hint of garlic and a pile of excellent steamed vegetables
finished the dish.
think our plate presentations could be better,” Rabadi insists,
but I think he overstates his worry. Mediterranean food has
such an array of color to begin with that the food itself
is artistic however you arrange it.
And you’ll have plenty more to sample on the entrée page,
including enlarged versions of some of the appetizer items
as well as roasted leg of lamb ($16), chicken parmigiana ($14.59)
and Moroccan chicken ($16), the last-named baked with onions,
olives and lemon.
A new wine list is a BFS feature worth checking out, a helpful
pair of pages sporting reproductions of the labels as well
as descriptions of the well-chosen array. And a calendar of
takeout items includes a rotating list of daily specials to
keep dinner interesting if you depend on the place for your
evening (or lunchtime) meal.
Dining within is pleasant, and warm weather adds some patio
tables. Servers are knowledgeable and efficient, and I’ve
never been disappointed with any of many visits I’ve paid
here over the years.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
Damon Baehrel of The Basement Bistro (776
Route 45, Earlton), a wonderful restaurant south
of Albany, is offering a cooking class at 7 PM
on Apr 28. The theme is Early Spring Vegetables,
and featured ingredients are expected to include
morel mushrooms, sorrel, asparagus and spring
chives, subject to availability. The cost is $40
per person, and registration is required, so reserve
space by calling 518-634-2338 or visiting www.sagecrestcatering.com.
. . . The Brown School’s annual gala takes
place from 6 to 10 PM Saturday (April 9) at the
Edison Club, 891 Riverview Road, Rexford. The
theme is the Roaring ’20s, and the event features
silent and live auctions, music for dancing by
the TS Ensemble, and a full dinner. The menu includes
chicken picatta, pecan-encrusted salmon and roast
prime rib of beef. Tickets are available at $55
per person by calling Meighan Rask at the Brown
School at 370-0366. . . . Remember to pass your
scraps to Metroland (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org).
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very much enjoyed eating dinner at Daniel's
at Ogdens. You review described my dining
experience perfectly. This wasn't the case
with Pancho's. I much prefer Garcia's or
Lake View Tavern for Mexican fare. I agree
that a restaurant can have an off night
so I'll give the second unit on Central
Avenue a try.
yes I miss the star ratings, bring it back.
Second, I haven't had a chance to visit
Poncho's yet, but I especially like reading
would travel to Amsterdam to this restaurant
- it's not that far away. People traveled
from all over to eat at Ferrandi's in Amsterdam.
From his background, I'm sure the chef's
sauce is excellent and that is the most
important aspect of an Italian restaurant.
Sometimes your reviewer wastes words on
the negative aspects of a restaurant. I'm
looking forward to trying this restaurant
- I look forward to Metroland every Thursday
especially for the restaurant review. And
by the way Ferrandi's closed its Amsterdam
location and is opening a new bistro on
Saratoga Lake - Should be up and running
in May. It will be called Saratoga Lake
Bistro. It should be great!
comments about the Indian / Pakistani restaurants
being as "standardized as McDonald's"
shows either that you have eaten at only
a few Indian / Pakistani restaurants or
that you have some prejudices to work out.
That the physical appearances are not what
you would consider fancy dancy has no bearing
on the food. And after all, that is what
the main focus of the reviews should be.
Not the physical appearances, which is what
most of your reviews concentrate on.
A restaurant like The Shalimar, down on
Central Avenue, may not look the greatest,
but the food is excellent there. And the
menu has lots of variety - beef, lamb, vegetarian,
chicken, and more..