Each day, McGuire's chefs seek out seasonal vegetables and greens from local vendors to pair with their high-quality cuts of beef, fresh seafood, free-range organic chicken, and rich, saucy pastas. They then get to work preparing a champagne mignonette for oysters on the half shell, drizzling truffle honey on cheese plates, grilling Maine lobster tails to place in the risotto, and cooking Himalayan red rice to pair with the Chilean sea bass.
The restaurant's stately stone-and-brick building is nestled in the heart of Albany's Center Square district, a short walk away from the New York State Capitol building and mere steps from crowds of confused tourists who thought the capital was in Manhattan. On clear days and balmy nights, patrons dine al fresco on the sidewalk seating that wraps around the corner of State and Lark streets, enjoying their meals and fine wine as they watch scenes of city life unfold around them.
Northern Berkshire peaks peek through the windows of Taylor's, where surf and turf unite in a lamp-lit, exposed-brick dining room. An army of appetizers kicks off the menu, including the baked brie, which is infused with grapes and sprinkled with brown sugar, walnuts, and apples ($8). A fresh garden salad sidekicks every entree, serving as a momentary plate mate for hearty dishes such as the filet mignon ($24) and its aquatic, redundant counterpart, grilled mahi-mahi ($21). The ratatouille with tofu forgoes filets for a mix of stewed eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes that are fresher than haircuts of the eighties ($16).
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.
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 chefs at O'Hana Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar expertly roll dozens of sushi specialties and sizzle meat-centric Japanese entrees atop a hibachi grill. Snag a seat at the bar to watch chefs chop, slice, and wrap the popular Snow Crab Heaven roll, a blend of cream cheese, snow crab, and avocado topped with spicy mayo ($11.95), and other specialty rolls on the menu. Bite into the Hottie Susan’s molten core of spicy tuna, cucumber, and salmon ($12.95), or let daring chopsticks challenge the Dragon ($9.95), a California roll packed with eel and a deep-seated grudge against questing knights. Alternately, chefs can flip fiery portions of steak, chicken, shrimp, or scallops on a traditional Japanese grill to yield four types of hibachi dinners ($12.99–$17.99 each) flanked by onion soup, a house salad, grilled vegetables, and rice. Kid-friendly options, including pint-sized portions of teriyaki chicken ($8.99) and steak ($9.99), keep young mouths busy so they don’t shout out parents’ computer passwords in the middle of dinner.
CW's American menu?which features locally sourced seafood and thick-cut steaks?combines the comforting nostalgia of classic Americana with contemporary cooking techniques. Their modern methods include rubbing each cut of meat with a proprietary blend of spices before broiling them at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit to seal in juices. When possible, the chefs source their seasonally changing ingredients from local businesses to encourage the local economy and give their wheelbarrow driver a break.