Nott St. (St. James Square), Niskayuna, 372-8610. Serving
Mon 11-2, Tue-Sat 11-9. AE, D, MC, V.
price range: $7 (portobello sandwich) to $20 (full
rack of ribs)
B. A. Nilsson
is enjoying an efflorescence the like of which I only dreamed
of not too many years ago. Dinosaur Bar-B-Q entrenched itself
Syracuse, branched into Rochester, then skipped Albany en
route to a branch in Manhattan. Meanwhile, we contented ourselves
with Northern-style grilled chicken and ribs, which can be
excellent if that’s what you’ve got your mouth set for.
But the Southern style, which puts the meat over wood smoke
for many, many hours, is the unmistakable, falling-off-the-bone
stuff. There’s nothing like pulling it out of the fire and
digging right in, but the better restaurants are the next
best thing. One of the newest is LT’s Grill, tucked into a
corner of St. James Square in Niskayuna, the brainchild of
two childhood friends who grew up in that neighborhood.
L.J. Goldstock and Tom Coppola bring not only a 30-year friendship
but also a variety of talents to the eatery. Coppola is, among
other occupations, a metal fabricator who turns out custom
smokers. Goldstock is a chef who restlessly experiments with
the recipes he likes, tuning them for his customers.
don’t put as much smoke in the meat as they do down South,”
he tells me, parrying my only criticism of the place. “What
we’ve got now is what people seem to like the best. And let
me ask you this: When you got your order of ribs, were they
falling off the bone?”
They were undoubtedly good. I ate them dry—they’re seasoned
with a tangy dry rub before they go over the heat—and I tried
them with the barbecue sauce that Goldstock makes. Either
way, they’re delicious, but there’s an extra oomph to the
sauce that soon had me sampling it with everybody else’s items.
The pig in me wanted to get a full rack of those ribs, but
the choice of a half-rack ($10, half the price), put plenty
of meat in front of me. It was served with a slice of sweet
homemade cornbread and a choice of two side dishes. I ordered
the baked beans (done as I like them, with more of a molasses
kick than the canned stuff offers) and coleslaw, which had
the sweetness and crunch that naturally complements a barbecued
The place is easy enough to find—it’s just off Balltown Road—and
the inside has been thoroughly done over by its new owners.
“People like booths as well as tables, so we put in both,”
Goldstock explained. “Some people like to eat at the bar,
so we have a big bar with chairs. And we’re putting in a salad
bar,” which should be in place by the time you read this.
With two of my dining party of three in place early, we ordered
an appetizer to complement our beverages. (Sodas, that is,
which shouldn’t be classified as foodstuffs but to which I’m
A $9 plate of a dozen wings can be ordered hot or mild, or
with a dry rub. Lily and I ordered them hot—we can do this
when her mom isn’t around to complain—and marveled at the
crunch. (And they’re not all that spicy, at least according
to my overheated standards.)
But Goldstock redressed what he thought was a mistake on my
part. After my meal, after I introduced myself, he insisted
I sample wings seasoned only with a dry rub. It could make
a convert of me: I recommend them.
They fry their own crinkle-cut chips and serve them as a starter
with horseradish sauce ($6). A quesadilla is $7, chicken nuggets
are $8, or you can even start with a $9 half-rack. Salads
are also available, and there’s a sandwich menu (sliced sirloin,
pulled pork, roasted turkey, fried haddock, burgers and more)
for lunch or lighter dining ($8-$9).
favorite, chicken, is $12. It was my wife’s unsurprising choice,
and was moist and tangy. She side-dished it with a baked potato
and a dish of sweet butternut squash.
The eight entrée platters also include beef brisket, pork
chop, tilapia, salmon ($12-$13), sirloin ($20) and the “snort
’n cluck” combo of chicken and ribs ($19), each of which demands
a choice of two side dishes. Other sides include fries, macaroni
salad, baked potato, creamed spinach and the vegetable of
Daily specials often include a “garbage plate” ($11), the
name alone of which commended it to my daughter. It’s a dinner
bargain—if you’re prepared to wade through a multilayered
cacophony of pulled pork, barbecued chicken, macaroni salad,
baked beans and fries.
We took undue advantage of the free soda refills and even
then forced ourselves to finish with homemade apple crisp.
All in all, a way-too-filling meal, leftover boxes notwithstanding,
but real barbecue can do that to you. Give me a couple of
weeks to recover, and I’ll try it again.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
Bistro (Clinton &
Broadway, Albany) celebrates its 23rd anniversary
with a special dinner at 6 PM on Friday, Nov 16.
A champagne reception kicks things off, then enjoy
halibut and sole dumplings in a lobster cognac
sauce, arugula and endive salad, and a Trio of
Veal entrée, each course paired with an appropriate
wine. And there’s dessert! Music is performed
by Ed Clifford. Tickets to the perception are
$80 per person plus tax and gratuity. Call 465-1111.
. . . Travel to Italy by way of the Adirondacks
when Milano North and the Courtyard by
Marriott host a getaway weekend in Lake Placid
Nov 9-11. The two-night stay includes a wine reception
Friday, two breakfasts, and a five-course Italian
wine dinner on Saturday featuring the wines of
the Feudi di San Gregorio Estate, a winery in
southern Italy’s Campania region. Export manager
Robin Shay will to introduce the wines at the
dinner. Prices are $550 per couple, $395 per single,
taxes and gratuities included; there also are
seats available for the wine dinner only ($75
per person). Call 523-2900 for the weekend, 523-3003
for the dinner only. . . . Liz and Jerry Lavalley,
owners of Manchester, Vt.’s Reluctant Panther
(which includes an excellent restaurant reviewed
here a few months back) were recently named Innkeepers
of the Year by Governor Douglas. . . . Remember
to pass your scraps to Metroland.
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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..