Riverside Road, Rotterdam, 887-3100.
Serving Mon-Thu 11-9, Fri-Sat 11-10,
Sun noon-9. AE, D, MC, V.
price range: $6 (burger) to $16
cozy and cheerful
winter evening, blustery and cold. A long, lonely drive home
to an empty house. A sense that all those career irons, long
toasting in their various fires, were puddling into scrap.
My standard remedy, pursued to excess, is a meal, but I would
be dining alone. Which amounts to a public admission of social
failure: Who’s the pariah on table three?
word of a place in Rotterdam, on Route 103, which bridges
Routes 5 and 5S at Lock 9 of the canal system. Anthony’s Canalside
looked very inviting at that moment, and as soon as I stepped
inside I was wrapped in woodstove warmth and family friendliness.
And I was further cheered to discover that I could order a
chicken-and-eggplant parmigiana dinner for $7 that included
a salad (or soup) and a side of pasta.
is when food is at is most salubrious. My distress crumbled
away; the sun broke through. Nothing like a juicy piece of
chicken, especially with tomato sauce and cheese, to restore
one of five seven-dollar specials offered Mondays through
Wednesdays; the Thursday-through-Sunday specials are more
extensive (including prime rib) and expensive. But how can
the place afford to offer a complete dinner for seven bucks,
even if only early in the week?
I hope,” says owner Anthony Civitello, Sr. He and his son,
Anthony Jr., give the place its sense of home, as if you’re
being welcomed to a family event. The dining room is unpretentious:
wood-paneled, hung with little lights and large, green plants.
Beyond the dining room is a cheerful bar that also holds a
few tables. A separate entrance puts you in the take-out area.
and dinner items combine on one menu. Look for hot heroes
and cold subs if you’re in a sandwich mood ($7 to $9, including
fries). The pizza selection offers four- to 12-cut pies in
the dining room (24-cut is to-go only) and the usual array
of toppings; an eight-cut with pepperoni and onions would
cost you $13. Calzones are $7 with a dollar-per-topping charge.
a couple of weeks later, this time with my family, and my
wife was delighted to find two of her food fetishes indulged:
chicken and cheap. The $7
chicken-parm special was just what she sought that evening.
dinners are served with soup or salad, we also passed around
a plate of fried calamari ($7), chosen from the appetizer
list. Although the ringlets were fresh and tasty, they were
oilier than necessary, usually the result of a not-hot-enough
for macaroni? Choose from pastas—a variety of shapes, including
rigatoni and angel hair—served with anything from marinara
($9) to red or white clam sauce ($12). Fancy pastas, as the
menu styles it, are the baked variety: ravioli, ziti, lasagna
and more, with enhancements like mushrooms or Alfredo sauce
the Canalside specialties are those parmigiana dishes, with
eggplant, chicken or veal ($11 to $14), giving you more robust
portions than the discounted specials. There’s also a selection
of burgers priced from $6.50 to $8, the highest price putting
fried peppers and onions and mozzarella cheese on the sandwich.
entrées include a primavera with mussels, shrimp and clams
($15), broiled scrod ($12), shrimp or mixed seafood fra diavolo
($15) and more. Mussels fra diavolo ($13) surround a heap
of pasta (choose your noodles) with plump, pinkish bivalves
that spread their liquid throughout the dish.
for beef? A one-pound char-broiled New York strip or Delmonico
steak is $15, but there’s a $16 steak pizzaiola that tops
a strip with peppers, onions, mushrooms and marinara.
one of those. Ordered it rare, in fact, because that’s my
only guarantee these days of getting it medium-rare. It arrived
rare. Which is also a good thing, because when you reheat
it (and there was plenty to reheat for the next day’s breakfast)
you can still have it medium-rare.
a decidedly family-friendly place, with a couple of toddlers
and a stroller in evidence, yet no sense of being besieged
by unhappy children. The $6 items on the kids-only (12 and
under) menu pander to pop tastes with chicken tenders and
mozzarella sticks, but spaghetti, ziti and ravioli are available.
I think of old-style Italian restaurants, I picture the kind
of place that has thrived in the downtowns of Albany and Schenectady.
Anthony’s captures that spirit, but in a bright new building
in an out-of-the-way place. A new neighborhood is springing
up around it as Rotterdam swells to accommodate the urban
exodus, but for destination-hunters the locale is worth a
visit—not only for the nearby river lock and canal history
but also for the food and hospitality—especially early in