Café 217's chefs cook every crêpe, burger, or steak to order, delivering an all-hours menu of fresh American fusion cuisine. Among several French-inspired specialties on the breakfast menu, sweet crêpes ooze with blueberry or raspberry compote ($7.95) and the Monte Cristo seats grilled ham, turkey, and swiss upon two chaise lounges of french toast ($8.95). Cooks griddle and poach eggs into various classic scrambles and benedicts, partnering dishes with home fries. Several of the lunch menu’s burgers and sandwiches borrow from Italian culinary traditions, exemplified by the grilled portobello mushroom sandwich with roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, mozzarella, and a balsamic reduction ($8.95). Café 217 fills its dinner menu with more upscale, steak-house-style fare including chipotle chicken pasta with a smoky tomato-cream sauce ($13.95) and grilled new york strip steak with au jus and compound garlic butter ($15.95). Inside the restaurant, 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 the grilled lamb chops or feast on Heather Ridge Farm chicken wrapped in bacon and the envious stares of nearby diners. Vegetarians also have plenty to celebrate, whether its the polenta with braised fennel and olives praised by the Times Union for being "a truly Mediterranean melange" or roasted acorn squash enhanced by brussels sprouts and king oyster mushrooms.
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.
The only way to top Sea Fish Market and Grill's seafood selection would be to become a treacherous chancellor to the Monarch of Waters. Fortunately, you don't have to go that far. Diners can dig into spicy fish tacos with sriracha aioli, crab cake sandwiches in a spicy remoulade, or tortilla-crusted tilapia tinged with chili lime. The shop also slings fresh fish to take home and prepare, with possible offerings including scottish salmon, bay scallops, mahi-mahi, and chilean sea bass.