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Recently reviewed restaurants:

Carmen·s Café, 198 First St., Troy, 272-3011. Traditional diner fare, but made from scratch and with additional Cuban items·like the Cuban eggs over rice and beans, and the multi-layered sandwich Cubano. Serving breakfast and lunch Tue-Sat 6-3, Sun 7-4. Cash only.

Pinto & Hobbs Tavern, 32 Dove St., Albany, 426-4900. Pub fare of sandwiches and salads, and a dinnertime menu of eclectic, internationally inspired entrées, define the food at this comfortable neighborhood tavern. Serving lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-10, dinner Mon-Sat 5-10. Sunday brunch 11:30-3:30. AE, D, MC, V.

Bambino·s Ristorante, 154 Erie Blvd., Schenectady, 347-2782. Classic family-Italian fare brought to you by ace restaurateur Michelle Geloso and chef Joe Pisano, with outsized portions at bargain prices. The steak pizzaiola is a charbroiled wonder. Serving lunch Mon-Fri 11-3, dinner Mon-Thu 11-9, Fri 11-10, Sat 4-10, Sun 1-8. D, MC, V.

Shalimar, Shopper·s World Plaza, 15 Park Ave., Clifton Park, 348-1494. The same great food as at the Albany location, but in a strip mall with plenty of parking. Tandoor dishes, the usual array of meat and fish, and plenty for vegetarians. Serving a buffet lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2, Sat noon-3; dinner Mon-Thu 11:30-10, Fri 11:30-11, Sat noon-11. AE, D, MC, V.

The Beekman Street Bistro, 62 Beekman St., Saratoga Springs, 581-1816. Local meat and produce get extraordinary cooking in this off-the-track eatery, located in a burgeoning arts district. Be sure to try the rabbit. Serving dinner Tue-Sat 5-9. AE, MC, V.

Park 54, 54 Clifton Country Road, Clifton Park, 688-1548. Chef Mike Pietrocola is back in business, offering elegant new American fare at this newly remodeled location. The potato-wrapped sea bass is a killer. Serving dinner Tue-Sun from 4:30. AE, D, MC, V.

La Familia, 54 Philip St. (at Madison Avenue), Albany, 462-2190. An unassuming eatery with terrific Oaxacan food, along with burgers and such as gringo fare. Try the enchiladas rojas for its great mole sauce. Serving Sun-Thu 11-9: 30, Fri 11-7. Closed Saturday! MC, V.

Mino: Sushi & Thai Restaurant, 1558 Central Ave., Colonie, 452-6878. Watch virtuoso sushi chef Mino at work slicing and presenting your fresh fish, or try one of the amazing curries or other Thai dishes. Serving lunch daily 11:30-2:30, dinner Sun-Thu 5-10, Fri-Sat 5-10:30. AE, MC, V.

Jack·s Oyster House, 42 State St., Albany, 465-8854. Certified master chef Dale Miller oversees a menu of classic fare and his own inspiration at downtown Albany·s most famous restaurant·still going strong after 93 years. Serving daily 11:30-10. AE, DC, D, MC, V.

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