Is Just the Beginning
on the wall of More Perreca·s reproduces an article
about Jack Nicholson·s discovery of Perreca·s
bread while he was in Albany filming Ironweed, and the lengths
to which he·d go to keep supplied. What never got chronicled
(so you·re reading it here first) is that his onetime
costar Kathleen Turner also became a big fan of the stuff.
This was when a longtime friend of mine named Christine worked
as a personal assistant for Turner, and took a couple of Perreca·s
loaves back to Manhattan after a visit here. From then on,
as long as Christine was in her employ, she was under orders
to do the same after every such excursion. I even recall a
time when I put a couple of loaves on a bus to the Port Authority
Terminal, where Christine retrieved them.
bakery has been operating for nearly a century, for most of
that time turning out one thing only: bread, dense, crusty
loaves of Italian bread that have defined the way this bread
should break and taste. Eventually, the small North Jay Street
shop began to offer a small selection of deli-type goods,
including pizza slices, and the even-more-recently added cupcakes
have been a success. So it stands to reason that, as Schenectady·s
Little Italy takes shape, Perreca·s should add a restaurant.
almost too intimidating a word for what·s there. It·s
like an outdoor café brought inside, airy and casual
with an engagingly retro feel; and there are a couple of sidewalk
tables, too. You line up to order breakfast and lunch items,
from blackboard menus that hang over the far end of the counter,
requiring you to pass the cupcakes display en route. Dinner
or French toast ($4) lead the breakfast list; add meat for
$2.50. Or rein in the appetite with a $3.25 short stack. A
number of egg-based dishes range from a single, any style,
with potatoes ($2.50) to a frittata with potatoes and fontinella
($6.45). And there are bagels, muffins, panini and more.
includes meatloaf or Italian chicken wings ($8), eggs in purgatory,
a spicy tomato-based sauce ($5.50; more below), coal-fired
pizza for one ($8), salads and a number of sandwiches. Even
macaroni and cheese ($7). Most days there·s also a
special, such as Tuesday·s stuffed shells ($8) and
Thursday·s roast lamb ($10), as well as an imaginative
array of pizza styles.
four personal pizzas are featured, each a generous four slices,
cooked in the coal-fired bread oven. We tried the eggplant
($9), deemed a customer favorite, and enjoyed a thin-crust
pie with breaded, fried eggplant rounds atop the tomato sauce
and mozzarella. Margherita, sausage, and plain old cheese
also are offered in the $8-to-$9 range.
eggplant is a weekend dinner special, along with roasted chicken,
and sausage and peppers ($12 each). Thursday·s specials
are roasted lamb ($13) and penne with broccoli ($10, add chicken
for $2). On Wednesday, it·s penne with vodka cream
sauce ($10, add chicken for $2) and braciole ($13). Ours was
a Wednesday visit, but we arrived a half-hour before closing
and so were unsurprised to learn that the braciole was gone.
I·d gone over the who-orders-what with my family, but
because my wife hates being assigned such things, she switched
to the chicken purgatory ($13) with a small sense of triumph.
with soup and salad. The soup ($3/$5, but included with many
entrées) was a potato- vegetable mix that sported large
chunks of everything, squash and tomatoes included, in an
($9) arrived atop iceberg, which certainly stands up to the
other ingredients but adds little in the flavor department·especially
unnecessary this time of year when there·s so much
fresh harvest around. But the toppings featured a generous
amount of slices of capocollo wrapped with provolone, pickled
carrots and cauliflower, pepperoncini, slivered onion, red
pepper slices and tomato wedges, in oil and vinegar.
salads include Tuscan chicken ($8), mayo-based, with cranberries,
and a chick pea and cucumber mix ($7) that my daughter ordered,
a dish where something other than iceberg would have been
surprise was in my wife·s chicken dish·or wasn·t
in it. It lacked chicken. It arrived in a large, appetizing-looking
bowl, with a spicy, vegetable-enhanced tomato sauce over penne.
But not a bit of chicken to be found. No servers either, at
that point. There seems to come a time in many restaurants
when the floor staff, having presented the last of the entrées,
hangs out elsewhere, or zips by too fast to beckon. Fortunately,
Susan was able to track down one of the cooks and persuade
him that the chicken would be a worthy addition.
the meal amid the cleanup bustle, and thus felt it prudent
not to linger. A sturdy pile of leftovers went home with us,
including what was left of the signature bread, served at
the start of the meal·and it vanished before bedtime.
is a terrific addition to the neighborhood, and I·m
eager to try breakfast and lunch. I·d like to see a
more conscientious cooking and floor staff, because even casual
dining should be a serious business.
Jay St., Schenectady, 377-9800. Serving 7-3 Mon-Tue, 7 AM-8
PM Wed-Sun. D, MC, V.
Cuisine: Italian diner
price range: $7 (pepper and egg sandwich) to $13 (chicken
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
course we·re a co-sponsor·it·s
about local stuff. And so, along with Honest Weight
Food Co-op, we·re pleased to announce the
Second Annual Local Harvest Festival, taking place
from 1 to 6 on Sunday (Sept. 19) at Albany·s
Washington Park Lake House. Enjoy a farmers-market-style
event featuring local vendors, restaurants and
artisans, local bands and more. Among the participants
are the Beancake Company, serving akara, a Nigerian
beancake; nuts from Delmar-based Our Daily Eats;
Elderberry Mary·s home-grown and homemade
jam; cookies from Vegan Creations (a Troy Farmers
Market favorite); milk from Battenkill Valley
Creamery; cheese and probiotic ice cream by Amazing
Real Live Food; Catskill-based Grandpa Pete·s
gourmet pasta sauce; Bettie·s Cup Cakes,
and such local restaurants and businesses as Bros
Tacos, New World Bistro, Casa Visco and Honest
Weight Food Co-op. . . . Carney·s Tavern
& Irish Pub (17 Main St., Ballston Lake) will
hold its annual Halfway to St. Patrick·s
Day party from 11:30 AM through the evening on
Saturday (Sept. 18). The party features Irish
Music by St. James Gate, Carney·s corned
beef and cabbage, Reuben sandwiches, and Irish
potato soup. Wear some green to offset the fall
foliage. More info: 399-9926. . . . Remember to
pass your scraps to Metroland.