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Food Review

New Life

by B.A. Nilsson July 27, 2011


Chubby Sperry was a Saratoga fixture in the 1930s, a racehorse owner who also characterized the social scene as Prohibition drew to a close. While I’m in no position to affirm what his namesake restaurant ...

1 comment

Simply Delicious

by Laura Leon July 6, 2011


Tucked toward the back of a pedestrian alley (in what locals call “the mews”) next to the more grandiose Red Lion Inn is a small gem of a restaurant called Once Upon a Table. With ...

Oven Lovin’

by B.A. Nilsson June 29, 2011


The oven is an arresting sight. It’s Le Panyol Model 120, if you want to get technical about it, from a French company that dates back to the 1840s and specializes in refractory earthenware products ...

Spring Roll Dynasty

by B.A. Nilsson June 22, 2011


We were waiting for spring rolls. Not any spring rolls, but the legendary ones we all discovered at Kim’s Dragon, a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant on Route 20 heading into ...

Mediteroccan Logic

by B.A. Nilsson June 15, 2011


Fez is the nearly two-year-old brainchild of chef Niels Nielsen, whose Albany tie-in is a stint he served as chef at New World Bistro Bar when it opened. But he’s also been in the Saugerties-area ...

For the Whole Gang

by B.A. Nilsson June 8, 2011


Sometimes you turn a corner and lose most of your bearings. It could be a plaza in a foreign country where you don’t recognize the dialect spoken around you. Or ...

Chicken Riot

by B.A. Nilsson May 25, 2011


"Pio pio” is what a Spanish chick says, as you know if you’ve joined the United Farm Workers Union in singing “De Colores.” It would translate as “cheep cheep,” which isn’t so evocative as a ...

Mr. Pio-Pio

Under the Cedar Tree

by B.A. Nilsson May 19, 2011


My family’s civilian (non-reviewing) dining strategy is to seek, as I indelicately put it, “some hole in the wall.” Which is understood to mean a place where the food is interesting and the people friendly. ...

Beirut Restaurant

A New Leaf

by B.A. Nilsson May 11, 2011


Tea service remains the biggest letdown in the fine-dining arena. Too often it amounts to a cup of hot (and rapidly cooling) water with a tea bag beside it. The glories of the beverage are ...

1 comment Divinitea

For Your Indulgence

by B.A. Nilsson May 4, 2011


The executive chef at a world-class destination hotel walks a tricky tightrope. It’s a helm from which a significant reputation can be achieved, which invites the pursuit of innovative ...

The View at the Mirror Lake Inn

Little Astoria

by B.A. Nilsson April 27, 2011


My father grew up in Astoria, on Long Island’s western edge, in the 1930s and ’40s. Back then it was known as “Little Athens,” and most of his neighbors were Greek, which meant that he ...


Special Ops

by B.A. Nilsson April 20, 2011


I’m studying a steak, a 16-ounce slab of Angus sirloin, cross-hatched with grill marks. It lies atop a flurry of whipped potatoes, across which also are tilted a half-dozen ...

The Pentagon Restaurant

Raising the Bar

by B.A. Nilsson April 13, 2011


There are hints in the menu of Blu Stone Bistro that this is a hotel restaurant—at least, that it knows it occupies space adjacent to the Hotel Indigo and therefore ought ...

Blu Stone Bistro

By the Book, Cheerfully

by B.A. Nilsson March 30, 2011


It was my first-ever visit to this longstanding restaurant, and I felt as if I’d walked into somebody else’s house. Somebody very gracious, someone who’d been expecting me—but someone with a large, extended family who ...

1 comment The Redwood Diner

Confit for a King

by B.A. Nilsson March 23, 2011


Every so often, a Capital Region neighborhood collects enough of a variety of restaurants that it threatens to assert a dining-out identity. Cluster a bunch of good eateries together ...

1 comment Cafe Adam

Teppanyaki, Hold the Circus

by B.A. Nilsson March 16, 2011


With the surge in popularity of Japanese steakhouses, which offer a grilled dinner prepared teppanyaki style, complete with flashing cutlery, acrobatic carving and a number of comic effects, I ...

1 comment Kumo Sushi & Grill

The Art of the Sandwich

by B.A. Nilsson March 3, 2011


You can’t help wondering what would happen if the socially responsible were placed in charge of corporate entities. If we’re talking Exxon/Mobil, then it won’t be during my lifetime and probably not during yours, but ...

2 comments Rock Hill Bakehouse Cafe

Big Easy Charm

by B.A. Nilsson February 23, 2011


Recognized—at last! I maintain an impressive anonymity at this job, despite frequent in-print descriptions of my size and usual dining companions, not to mention a scattering of likenesses in the webosphere. But, compared to many ...

Cafe Nola

Welcome Home

by B.A. Nilsson February 16, 2011


How you’re treated at the door tells you almost everything about a restaurant. Most chain restaurants, for example, feature a scripted greeting that’s intended to make up for the soullessness of the functionary hired to ...

Valente's Restaurant

Courting Good Taste

by Amy Halloran February 9, 2011


Though I’ve never been presented with a heart-shaped box of chocolates (hint, hint), I’ve been wooed by plenty of food. Who hasn’t? I especially remember the meals that flopped. The presentation of coffee at midnight, ...

Cooking with Aphrodite

by B.A. Nilsson February 9, 2011

Ogden Nash, in “Reflections on Ice-Breaking,” epitomized it thus: “Candy/Is dandy/But liquor/Is quicker.” Chocolate and booze are distinguished staples of courtship, but sometimes you just want to hit the sack. Is there any grub that ...

Medium – Well Done

by B.A. Nilsson February 2, 2011


Journalists dislike coincidences. They are the stuff of the fictionist, desperate to tie together divergent threads of plot. Yet they do occur, and they must be dealt with. It is a coincidence that my review ...

Central Steak

Fresh Fusion

by B.A. Nilsson January 26, 2011


Two of the area’s most creative chefs have combined their talents to produce an unlikely restaurant. It’s in an unlikely spot, boasts an unlikely array of entrées, and is unusually inexpensive. Joseph Soliman opened the ...

sage bistro


by B.A. Nilsson January 19, 2011


There’s a pattern I see played out every time I invite friends to my house for barbecue. When they arrive, the meat already has been smoking for many hours, typically started the day before. We ...

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Don’t Ever Change

by B.A. Nilsson January 12, 2011


You may think you walked into the wrong place, as I thought. It’s not that the Highland doesn’t look sufficiently restaurant-like; rather, it looks like you’ve entered an Italian joint from your parents’ childhood. ...

The Highland restaurant