As locks click and fluorescents dim at most conventional restaurants, the night owls at Café 217 hurl howls at the moon: their night's just getting started. Open nonstop from Friday at 5 p.m. to Sunday at 3 p.m. and with late hours throughout the rest of the week, Café 217 centers itself as Albany's nocturnal hideout for party prowlers, third-shifters, and Nosferatu's roommates. Prepared fresh to order, the breakfast menu draws inspiration from the French, though Italian influences pervade the lunch menu, which includes a grilled portobello-mushroom sandwich with roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, mozzarella, and a balsamic reduction. Available at all hours, the dinner menu aims for upscale, as does the interior, where metal trellises with floral designs stud the walls and bright-yellow tablecloths swathe tables. Patrons can dab their faces with bright-purple napkins, which ably conceal blots of wine or Rorschach tests of grape jelly.
Ballistic Shrimp Steamed Seafood serves a menu of fresh, quickly prepared seafood with a healthy twist. Instead of deep-frying their fare like typical fast food restaurants, they steam or boil shrimp, crab legs, and fish to serve alongside fresh vegetables or homemade chowders and bisques. Combo meals allow diners to sample a variety of seafaring delicacies at once including Canadian salmon, Brazilian lobster tail, and American shrimp that spent a semester abroad. The ocean-blue dining room features starfish and seashell accents and offers limited seating at round, high-top tables.
Chef Mark D. Graham crafts menus at taste that showcase culinary techniques honed over more than two decades in the kitchen, including several years working as the sous chef at the Palo Alto Spago under Wolfgang Puck and Michael French. It was time well-spent?his menu presents inventive New American cuisine that led the Times Union to declare the chef's vision as being "bright, creative and precisely tuned...Graham isn't shy about crafting a menu that tempts you to try favorites of his you may have forgotten about or never sampled to begin with." Carnivores can delight in savory, slow-braised short ribs, Lover's Leap pork belly, or grilled filet mignon and the envious stares of nearby diners. Those who prefer their meals via sea can indulge in the halibut filet accented with salsa verde and summer couscous salad or salmon elegantly laced with asparagus butter.
A native of Jakarta, Executive Chef Yono Purnomo polished his culinary techniques under the tutelage of noted chefs including?Master Chef Fritz Sonnenschmidt, a dean of the Culinary Institute of America. Yono developed his own style of blending Indonesian dishes with a continental smorgasbord that encompasses?global?flavors, grabbing various accolades along the way. Along with his wife, resident dessert artist Donna, and son Dominick, GM and sommelier, Yono works to provide a dining experience that has been praised by Gayot and Fodor's. He augments the standard menu, which features exotic blends of lemongrass, coconut milk, lime leaves, and dragon-mouthed sambals, with nightly rotating features. And the 12-foot wine loft offers 700 selections that embody the tastes of 20 countries. The opulence of the wine selection and cuisine is mirrored in the revamped 19th-century townhouse replica where diners feast. With just 15 tables, each set with custom-made china, the intimate space stretches beneath tin ceilings and flaunts bronzed mirrors and original woodwork. The focal point of the dining room is a large crystal chandelier above a rich mahogany service table. It's here where a professional, friendly service team has catered to guests for nearly 30 years.
Cupz Southern Style Cuisine brings true soul food to Albany. From the welcoming atmosphere to the comforting smell of cooking shrimp and grits, you could very well be crossing the Mason-Dixon line the second you walk in the door.?This restaurant serves all?of the Southern classics, including fried chicken, collard greens, and?rice and gravy. Try one of the dinners?such as the deep-fried crab?that come with three sides and cornbread for an extra-filling meal.