25th St., Watervliet, 273-9888. Serving lunch and dinner Tue-Thu
11-11, Fri-Sat 11-11:30. AE, MC, V.
fancy pub food
price range: $9.40 (chicken drummers) to $25.40 (surf
and turf)—but the average is $12
had pizza everywhere in the area,” said Shelly, a server at
Deacon Blues, “and this is still my favorite. I like the thin
crust and I like the sauce. And they put the right amount
of sauce on their pizzas. I don’t like pizzas dry.”
We’d just sampled two of those pizzas, which is what happens
when you’ve got an opinionated kid with you whose opinions
contrast with those of your own opinionated self. Three pizza
sizes are offered; we choose small ones, which falls between
the “personal” and large sizes. A red pizza is $5.75 (the
other sizes are $4 and $8.75). At my daughter’s insistence,
we had to have pineapple chunks, which I can endure only if
they’re offset by ham. That added another two bucks.
Because the white pizza was enthusiastically praised by another
server, during an earlier visit, our other pie was white with
grilled chicken pesto ($9.75). You can choose your toppings,
of course, but be aware that they also offer a white pizza
with seafood, which can be a compellingly delicious treat.
Crusts are thin. You’ll want to eat your way into that
first half of the slice with fork and knife, after which you
should be able to navigate pizza to mouth with the V-fold
approach. It’s a rewarding journey. On the red pizza, the
sauce mutes the fruit’s sweetness; the white pizza is dominated
by the garlicky pesto.
And there’s a big menu of lunch and dinner items as well.
So why haven’t you heard of Deacon Blues? You fans of the
place are shaking your heads at my own seeming ignorance,
but the informal poll I’ve been conducting places the restaurant
either in the “love it” or “never heard of it” category, with
far fewer votes for the former.
That’s because Watervliet remains the Capital Region’s true
and only City that Time Forgot. Which means many others also
aren’t paying attention. Even Mechanicville seems to be better
Deacon Blues has been around since 1979—just a couple of years
after the birth of the Steely Dan song of that name—when owner
Ron Wilkins took over an establishment that already had been
running as a successful eatery. It’s on 25th Street, a few
blocks away from the river, well past that other Watervliet
essential, Gus’s Hot Dogs.
At first, you think you’re entering the kind of small-city
tavern where everybody knows everyone else and nobody knows
you; beyond the bar the place suddenly opens into a
cheerful dining room with booths, big tables and plenty of
space. It’s a dictionary definition of neighborhood joint,
with servers who boast of decades of service, a menu of easygoing
items, and a room where—well, everybody knows everyone else.
My first visit was with a party of five, a group with a wide
range of gustatory wishes. My friend Maureen sang encomia
to clams, recalled great clam dinners, promised to share her
clams with nobody—and then ordered shrimp scampi ($14.50).
“Suddenly I had to have shrimp,” she explained. They swim
in garlic butter, the seven critters, and you can get a side
of pasta, or choose potato and veg.
We examined a number of starters, including garlic bread ($3.75,
$4.25 with cheese), which I ordered without cheese and which
arrived with, to which I said not a word, figuring that “with”
was the far more common option. The scampi was more garlicky,
so I helped myself to some of that butter to enhance my bread.
Chicken wings don’t require much to distinguish themselves.
The $6 order comes in varying degrees of hotness; hot proved
to be mouth-tinglingly hot, and the skins were good and crunchy.
Potato skins ($5.20) are a new delight to my offspring, who
no doubt will outgrow this. Otherwise, lots of fried stuff
as well as an array of soups, including, when we visited on
a Friday, both of the popular clam-chowder styles. French-onion
soup ($3.50) uses rye croutons, which I liked but which disturbed
A small antipasto ($5.20) is still enough to share, a very
simple rendition of this dish, nothing at all exotic in the
combo of meat and greens and veggies, while a Caesar salad
($3.75 for a small one) is what you’d expect in a non-gourmet
You’ll have your work cut out for you with the hot meatball
sandwich ($6.20), which towers over its plate, cheese and
tomato sauce falling over it like lava. A great kid’s item,
which is exactly where it went. There’s a list of “kiddy dinners,”
priced from $4.50 to $7, and the $4.75 spaghetti with sausage
was a success and generated no leftovers.
Burgers start at $3.75; cold sandwiches are about $5, while
clubs go for $6.75. Pasta dishes include the parmigiana siblings
of eggplant ($9.45), chicken ($12.20) and veal ($13.20). A
short entrée list gives you steaks and chops, and a terrific
order of four pieces of Southern fried chicken for $10, which
my wife polished off with only one grudging sample for me.
From the daily specials, I enjoyed the stuffed salmon: two
good-sized salmon steaks with a seafood-enhanced bread stuffing
over rice pilaf. Much better than I’d expect from a place
like this, and all the more enjoyable for that.
As I sank into that sense of post-prandial well-being, I was
jolted back to earth by learning that the restaurant gave
up serving desserts a while ago. “They just weren’t moving,”
out server explained. And then I remembered I was in Watervliet,
the almost-forgotten city with its own unique way of life.
I grabbed a Klondike bar from a Stewart’s on the way home.
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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..