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Celebrating Restaurant Week in Schenectady

January 30, 2008

Last night, Bob and I joined my friends Nell and Skip for dinner at Parisi’s Steakhouse in Schenectady. The occasion was Schenectady’s 3rd annual Restaurant Week (Jan 29-Feb 2), which I’m proud to say I had a hand in starting back in 2005.

The deal is this: for the low price of $19.62 (1962 signifies the year that the Stockade was designated as NY State’s first historic district) you get a three-course meal, that would normally cost at least $25. The low price is of course exclusive of tax, tip, and alcohol.

Restaurant Week was started back when Proctors stage was first completed, and they were getting ready to host the Broadway touring company of Phantom of the Opera. January is usually a slow month for restaurants, so we (at the Chamber of Schenectady County, where I no longer work) and restaurant owners thought that it would be a great idea to offer this kind of deal when people might not otherwise be eating out. The rationale being, of course, that people will enjoy their experience so much that they’ll come back to eat in Schenectady’s restaurants before they head to Proctors to see Phantom. Well, it worked wonderfully well, and Restaurant Week continues to be a great success – which I’m thrilled about. And, hey, there’s still time for you to get a table at one of the participating restaurants – get more info and download menus over at www.sayschenectady.org.

Anyway, we got a reservation at one of the perennial RW favorites, Parisi’s Steakhouse. We had a terrific experience! Bob got to meet 2 of my good friends for the first time, we had a delicious meal, and drank a LOT of alcohol (which I’m sure made Parisi’s very happy!). Here’s what we all tried:

Me:

  • Little Neck Clams, steamed in Ommegang Witte Ale – delicious! I’d never had steamers before, but I’m so glad I tried them. I’d definitely order them again.
  • Tomato Bisque – thick, creamy, and chock full of chunky tomatoes, with a hint of basil
  • Sliced Sirloin with Garlic Mashed Potatoes – a trifle overcooked (I asked for med-rare), but very good and the mushroom demi-glace was wonderful
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake – oh. my. god.

Bob:

  • The same as me, except French Onion Soup and no clams.

Nell:

  • Artichoke Français, lightly battered with garlic cream sauce – these are amazing – I’ve had them here before
  • Eggplant Rollatini – I didn’t try it, but it sure looked good! Nell was making yummy noises, so I’m guessing she enjoyed it!
  • Apple Crisp – Nell’s comment was: “the perfect dessert – just enough, served in a cute little martini glass”
  • all of Skip’s martini olives

Skip:

  • Bruschetta
  • Sliced Sirloin
  • No dessert, just his Irish Coffee AND mine

We also enjoyed a delicious bottle of Francis Ford Coppola’s Rosso Classic, which is a delicious blend of 47% Zinfandel, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 21% Syrah. I had already downed 2 strong Tanqueray & tonics at this point, so I have no tasting notes to offer.

Dinner was a great deal – a perfect amount of deliciously prepared food at a great price. The service was also very attentive and friendly. It certainly helps to have a local restaurant owner seated at your table – somehow, the drinks come faster…

I’ve visited most (but not all) of the restaurants participating in Restaurant Week, and I can highly recommend all of them (I haven’t visited WineDown or Petta’s, but they have been receiving rave reviews). Go over to the website, download the menus, and make your reservations! Restaurant Week – runs through Saturday, and there are still lots of restaurants that are taking reservations. My advice – CALL AHEAD! Several restaurants are completely sold out, and you don’t want to miss out!

-Schenectady commercial ends here-

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