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Recently reviewed restaurants:

Otis & Oliver's, 979 Troy Schenectady Road, Latham, 785-9291. Barbecue-grilled ribs and pulled pork are the specialties, along with a menu of sandwiches, burgers, steaks and more served in a friendly, casual setting. Serving Mon-Thu 11:30-10, Fri-Sat 11-11, Sun noon-9. AE, D, DC, MC, V.

The Reluctant Panther, 17-39 West Road, Manchester, Vt., (802) 362-2568, (800) 822-2331, www.reluctantpanther.com. Excellent innovative continental fare with Asian notes prepared by chef Daniel Jackson. Asian-lacquered duckling, salmon with epazote pesto and seared sea scallops with risotto are but a few of the ever-changing entrées. Serving dinner Tue-Sat 5:30-9:30. AE, D, MC, V.

Nicole's Bistro at Quackenbush Square, 25 Quackenbush Square, Albany, 465-1111, nicolesbistro.com. Old World charm and inspired French bistro cooking (with a few twists) are hallmarks of this restaurant, now an old standby amid a surge of trendy downtown dining spots. Consistent, quality food and service keep this on the "A" list. Serving lunch Mon-Thu 11:30-2:30, dinner Fri-Sat 5-10. AE, D, DC, MC, V.

Tai-Pan, 1519 Halfmoon Parkway (Route 9), Halfmoon, 383-8581. An unusual mix of many Asian cuisines, served in an eye-catching building that also is an unusual Asian mix. The weekend dim sum is unique to the area. Serving daily 11-10, dim sum Sat-Sun 10-3. AE, MC, V.

Fresco's, 569 Route 20, New Lebanon, 794-9339. Wood-fired pizzas are the specialty, with an array of good pasta dishes rounding out the menu for this charming, intimate place. Serving Sun-Thu 11:30-10, Fri-Sat 11:30-11. AE, D, MC, V.

The Real Seafood Company, 195 Wolf Road, Colonie, 458-2068. An Albany institution for over 20 years, serving (albeit slowly) a menu of fresh seafood as well as pasta dishes and a sprinkling of Continental fare. Serving Mon-Thu 11-10, Fri 11-11, Sat 3-11, Sun 3-9:30. AE, D, DC, MC, V.

Tosca Grille, 200 Broadway, Troy, 272-3013. A standard of excellence here, with chef Larry Schepici presenting a menu of creatively enhanced continental fare, spectacularly presented. Serving dinner Mon-Sat 5-10, brunch Sunday 10-3. AE, D, MC, V.

Tortillas, 138 Broadway, Rensselaer, 434-1080. A low-priced variety of terrific food, including burritos, tacos, gyros, burgers and more. Takeout and delivery, too. Serving Mon-Sat 11-8:30. D, MC, V.


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