by: Ellen Descsiciolo
Zeeko’s Charbroil Restaurant
201 Continental Ave., Cohoes, 235-3940.
Serving dinner Tue-Sat 11-9, Sun 11-7. AE, D, MC, V.
Entrée price range: price range: $6.25 (burger) to
$8 (baked haddock)
Ambiance: aging club with a fine deck
I suppose it’s a survival feature that causes us, when we’re
in our 20s, to stop caring about such ephemera as dining venues.
We’re on our own, and life, our cortical brain reminds us,
is dangerous. Eat out in the open and some menacing mastodon
might make dinner out of you and your meal.
The front seat of the car is good enough, provided the grub
has been grabbed quickly. As a kid, however, I loved picnics,
and seized any excuse to move the feast outside. This has
become an imperative with my 7-year-old daughter, and, because
I do once again care about such venues, I’m happy to facilitate
it. The mastodon threat is low.
So we’re always on the lookout for decks. We scan the Metroland
dining guide—the first step of any sound dining strategy—to
see who boasts anything al fresco. And so it’s true of this
a new addition for us,” says Michael Murphy, known as Zeeko,
chef of the enterprise. “It’s a great place to dine in the
summer, looking over the golf course.”
What was once an Algonquin Indian village became Van Schaick
Island after the Dutch captain of that name bought it for
a bushel of wheat. Actually, the name changed frequently over
the years, reflecting different attitudes and occupants. The
oldest building on the island, which is located off the edge
of Cohoes, was built in 1735. The golf club, established in
1895, began with two holes (there’s a brief game!) but evolved
into the current layout by 1915.
It’s a membership-only golf club, but the restaurant is open
to all comers, a policy instituted shortly after Zeeko took
over the food-service operation seven years ago. “But we don’t
have a big presence with the general public,” he says, “and
I have to tailor the menu to what the membership wants. I
change it regularly so they don’t have to see the same things
all the time, and it reflects the club’s preferences.”
That’s what led to my only real disappointment of the visit.
The menu listed no rib or chicken dinners, no barbecue platters.
“We tried those things at first,” Zeeko explained. “But they
weren’t big sellers here. They’re in big demand when we do
catering jobs, however.”
And there’s the heart of his business, one that has grown
so much in recent years that he’s even now looking at new
spaces into which he can put a catering kitchen. “Catering
isn’t the business it was even a few years ago,” he says.
“You work harder now for the money. We do a lot of picnics
and barbecues, and a lot of what’s called contract feeding—providing
food on a daily basis for area businesses.
the warm months I also have the Camp Nassau facility in Guilderland
available for parties, and we’re doing parties there every
The public face of Zeeko’s remains at the Country Club, which
can be a challenging destination, tucked as it is into a corner
of an easy-to-miss island. Once you’re there, though, you
find a lovely golf course unfolding by a big old building
that’s showing signs of age.
We saw a much greater bar than dinner business, but the menu
accommodates everything from quick bites to . . . well, not-so-quick
bites. An unsurprising set of appetizers includes chicken
fingers ($7), nachos platter ($7) and mozzarella sticks ($6).
We tried an order of BBQ-sauced Buffalo-style chicken wings
($5.25 for 10) and found them as good as such items get, served
with the requisite sides.
Soups are quite good, as a cup apiece of Manhattan clam chowder
and sausage and pasta brews proved ($3 each). Good soup means
you’re in good hands, and with that confidence we moved on
to the baked haddock with accompanying vegetables, an array
of sautéed broccoli and squash upon which the fish was served
Among several salads are grilled chicken Caesar, turkey cobb,
chef and other chicken-enhanced variants ($8 each). Antipasto
is the same price but probably the best value. It’s not fancy
(don’t look for prosciutto), but it’s big, and I got two sandwiches
out of the leftover meat and cheese.
Wraps, priced around $7, are a favorite, and you have much
variety here, with roast beef, turkey and several chicken
interpretations in the mix. The meats are slow-roasted on
the premises, and also can be formed into a deli sandwich
of your design ($6-$6.50). There, you also get the choice
of a home-baked specialty roll.
That’s what I had surrounding an excellent burger ($6.25,
with an additional buck to add cheddar and onions). Sides
of fries and onion-rich cole slaw completed the dish.
A fleet of catering trucks unloaded alongside us, giving a
whiff of the feast that was. The only barbecue item on the
menu is an appetizer portion of ribs ($6), and those were
sold out. We were offered instead a serving of beef brisket,
charcoal-redolent and nicely sauced. Too bad such items can’t
make it as regular menu items, but we’re keeping an eye out
for Zeeko’s-catered events this summer.
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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..