Chef and Restaurateur Carmine Spiro has proven his prowess in the industry, with previous eateries that include an Italian restaurant and a Brazilian churrascaria. Though his menus change and shed pages seasonally, his commitment to fresh food and a communal experience remains constant. At Carmine's Restaurant, his staff decorates risottos and fresh pastas with proteins such as gulf shrimp, pork loin, and veal. These dishes are given an extra bit of European oomph with finishing touches of limoncello, smoked mozzarella, and marsala wine. Diners savor each bite within the dining room's bright-red walls and colorful, tiled backsplashes or beneath a green umbrella on the outdoor patio.
DeJohn's palate-pleasing chefs prepare an eclectic menu of upscale comfort cuisine served amid tabletop lamps that send flickers across exposed brick walls and sumptuous dark wood furnishings. Garlic-studded baked brie oozes across toothsome bread bites doused in a rich melba sauce ($9.95), providing an appetizing alternative to the jelly bean skewers that prelude typical household meals. Forks ski over the aromatic waves of thai-green-curry-cream sauce crashing against a chicken roulade stuffed with ham, smoked gouda, and spinach ($19.95), and trout fillets wear sheaths of crispy pecans crowned with diced tomatoes and a lemon caper beurre blanc ($18.95). A bed of linguini hosts littleneck clams, shrimp, and scallops whose flavors play Marco Polo in the seafood fra diavolo's roasted garlic marinara ($20.95).
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.
Named Valley Advocate’s Best Steakhouse for five years in a row, Opa Opa Steakhouse and Brewery grills an array of steak cuts—ranging from sirloin tips to prime rib—to a juicy and house-recommended medium rare. Beyond its steaks, the eatery’s grub follows the same Southwestern theme as its dining room’s decorative touches, which includes a wagon wheels and a cattle skull. The kitchen’s carefully roasted baby-back ribs, barbecued chicken, and pulled pork complements homestyle favorites such as meatloaf, lasagna, and fish and chips. All of the hearty entrees pair with sides that run the gamut from fries to cowboy beans. An array of beers, encompassing award-winning pours such as Red Rock Amber Ale and King Oak Milk Stout, wash meals down more effectively than a good, long yawn in front of water slide. Opa Opa Steakhouse and Brewery also caters events on-site or at the customer's choice of location.
The grill masters at Caminito Argentinean Steakhouse stay true to their culinary roots with a distinctly South American cooking tradition, which begins with hormone-free meat from cows that were fed a vegetable-only diet and raised on pastures instead of in cages. Manning a cast-iron grill stoked by locally sourced hardwoods, the expert chefs fire-kiss select cuts of beef to smoky perfection, infusing filet mignons, skirt steaks, and short ribs with rustic flavors that pair harmoniously with the restaurant’s robust selection of Argentinean red wines.
Although Caminito’s wood-fired steaks have earned it the Valley Advocate’s award for Best Steak House from 2010 through 2013, the menu proves that the restaurant does not live and die by expertly charred beef. Lobster-filled ravioli, pan-seared salmon, and seasoned chicken breasts showcase the kitchen team’s culinary repertoire, in addition to vegetarian entrees that aren't just snapshots of steak printed on soy paper. Refreshing sips of ale from Peak Organic Brewing Company complement hearty bites, and spoonfuls of flan and mousse bring meals to their bittersweet conclusion. On weekends, the acoustic strumming of guitarist Alvaro Olvera Sanchez nourishes famished ears with flamenco notes and classic Spanish songs.
Chez Mike owner and Culinary Institute of America graduate Michael Cohen whips up delicious, made-from-scratch dishes at his restaurant in Hannaford Plaza. Like a game of cheeseburger cricket, Chez Mike's cuisine is seasonal and eclectically American. Carnivores can start their meals off with house-made country pâté, served with garnishes, Dijon mustard, and grilled crostini ($7.99), or a hot-and-sour matzo ball soup, in which the sultriest matzos are simmered with parsnips, chicken, and scallions ($6.99). Ladies who lunch can openly indulge in delicacies such as crispy trout with pecan brown butter and roasted potato ($15.99), or blush over a bagel all-the-way, a luscious combination of smoked salmon, veggies, and a schmear ($12.99).
Invoking the precision of Samurai Japanese Restaurant's warrior namesake, sushi chefs slice paper-thin pieces of sashimi within the eatery's sparkling new Colonie location. Alongside pieces of fatty tuna and oyster, chefs assemble specialty rolls such as the King California and the Fire House roll, whose shrimp tempura and spicy tuna pair with rice, seaweed, and crunch. The menu also includes cooked entrees, such as yakitori-style bamboo skewers with short ribs and broccoli, as well as hibachi-style scallops and strip steak, which chefs prepare on sizzling tabletop grills.