Family of Fare
Parillo’s Armory Grill
Bridge St., Amsterdam, 842-2004. Serving dinner Wed-Sat 5-10,
Sun 1-8. AE, V, MC.
price range: $10 (many pasta dishes) to $24 (frutti
south side hugs the shore of the Mohawk River; it’s a community
that has seen fewer upheavals than the mill town to the north,
but one that nevertheless continues to bleed away its ethnic
identity. But you can’t blame the Parillo family for that.
They opened the Armory Grill, above which the Amsterdam Armory
towers sit, in the early 1970s. They have since added another
restaurant nearby, and family members operate other Montgomery
County eateries. A cheerful amalgam of restaurant and bar,
the Armory Grill is a neighborhood watering hole, meeting
place, party location—it’s eager and versatile, and serves
the kind of food that makes it an ongoing destination.
didn’t have the Jack Daniels steak?” Jackie Parillo asked
me. “You have to try it. You’re just going to have to come
back and try it.” She and her husband, Ralph, own and run
the place, which also means they run the kitchen, aided by
a young and enthusiastic crew. And while it’s true that I
didn’t have the J.D. steak (which is marinated in the titular
beverage, served with a stuffed baked potato, $22), I pleaded
that a review visit to an Italian restaurant should involve
a signature pasta.
Vodka rigatoni ($14) is such a dish. It’s a simple preparation,
rich with heavy cream and a cheese, Jackie assures me, that
is fanatically chosen. You can have it with chicken for $16;
I elected to add a link of spicy sausage for just a dollar
It’s a full-bore dinner, with soup or salad and a side of
potatoes or pasta, depending upon the entrée you order. And
there’s plenty to choose from, arranged by category: pasta,
chicken, veal, seafood and steaks & chops.
Not too many surprises await. You’ve got your basic pasta—spaghetti,
linguini, rigatoni—with tomato sauce and meatballs or sausage
($10). Linguini with red or white clam sauce is $15; cavatelli
with broccoli is $12 (add shrimp for another $5); and fettucini
Alfredo, that classic cousin of vodka rigatoni, is $13, rising
to $19 if you want to dress it with broccoli, shrimp and mushrooms.
And, of course, there’s parmigiana. Eggplant or chicken parm
is $13; veal will run you $15. Other chicken dishes are named
to salute family and friends: Belle Jacqueline ($15) is a
breaded cutlet cooked with artichoke hearts, mushrooms and
roasted peppers, and topped with mozzarella; pollo alla Gina
($15) features prosciutto and mushrooms in a cream sauce;
chicken Parillo ($15) is sparked by olives and pepperoncini
in a garlic-enhanced wine sauce.
Standard-issue veal dishes include Milanese (breaded, sautéed,
served with broccoli), Sorrentino (eggplant and mozzarella
with a marinara), carciofe (see Belle Jacqueline) and saltimbocca
(spinach, prosciutto), all in the $16-$18 range; add shrimp
(veal Theresa) for $19.
The haddock-based seafood dishes are priced around $14 and
even include a parmigiana. Shrimp scampi (served with cappellini)
is $17; swordfish (blackened or charbroiled) is $15, and an
all-out seafood fest of frutti di mare, with calamari and
scungili in the mix, is $24.
And, of course, there are steaks, along with a couple of pork
Tricia, our server, was familiar enough with the offerings
to steer me where I needed to go, and I took her nod of approval
as I requested a starter of roasted red peppers and provolone
($8) as a reinforcement of my wise and discerning way with
a menu. Then I saw her do the same thing at a neighboring
table. But the appetizer was a good one, with appropriately
sharp provolone and a few anchovies to set off the flavors.
My friend Richard took the opportunity to order escargot ($8),
which arrived somewhat anachronistically in shells, topped
with traditional garlic butter.
And that gave us a buttery superfetation at the table. The
bread served with dinner is already spread with garlic butter,
making it all the easier to plow through a carbs-rich basketful
before any other courses arrive.
But arrive they do, with our salads preceding the appetizers
because Tricia worried that we might get too hungry while
the snails cooked. By the time our entrées were served, we
felt daunted by the portion sizes. Not huge, but certainly
Veal Francese, Richard’s entrée, is a $16 classic, an egg-enhanced
sautée that finishes the meat and its accompanying mushrooms
with a garlicky wine sauce. He didn’t even make a stab at
the pasta served with it.
That we were talked into dessert is another tribute to our
server, whose manner suggested we’d be downright ungentlemanly
were we to eschew the sweets—which turned out to be good but
standard-issue stuff (chocolate layer cake, cheesecake).
We showed up on a Friday evening without a reservation, and
waited a few minutes to get a table. By the time we left,
the dining room was emptying but the bar was full. Throughout
the evening, Jackie emerged periodically from the kitchen
and greeted everyone (or so it seemed to me) by name. Soon
enough, we were included. It’s a family-run place with an
extended family of customers, proof that a restaurant’s longevity
is based as much on its sociability as it is on culinary arts.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
pretty much Christmas from now till the end of
the year, a good time to enjoy a holiday wine
dinner at Parisi’s Steakhouse (11 N. Broadway,
Schenectady). It’s a five-course dinner that takes
place at 7 PM on Monday (Dec. 3), and features
a collaboration with Cornell’s Restaurant, which
is sending chef Armondo Cioccke to join Parisi’s
chef Steve Morgan to craft a meal paired with
an appropriate selection of wines. Courses include
sliced tenderloin crostini with roasted-tomato
vinaigrette, sesame-encrusted salmon served over
a bed of spring mix, a surf-and-turf risotto and
more. And save room for tiramisu. Dinner is $60
plus tax and tip, and reservations are required—
call 374-0100. . . . Champagne will be on tap
(so to speak) at a special dinner on Dec. 7, 7
PM, at New World Home Cooking Co. (Route
212, Saugerties), where chef Ric Orlando has created
a menu that includes duck broth with Asian greens
and scrambled duck egg (paired with Langlois Estate
Cremant de Loire), lobster tamale with corn smut
crema (Iron Horse Vintage Brut 2002), hot smoked
salmon (Taittinger Brut La Francaise), pheasant
Kiev (Charles Heidsick Brut Reserve) and more.
It’s $85 per person, by reservation only, so call
845-246-0900. . . . Remember to pass your scraps
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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..