The Barnsider

For my birthday, we went to the Barnsider just off of Wolf Road. I wanted to have steak for my birthday, and they usually have a coupon in the paper where you get 50% on your birthday. It gets points for having an original vibe when you walk in, because it seems much more like a hunting lodge Gaston from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" would hang around in, rather than a place that is around the corner from Colonie Center and Fuddrucker's. It felt very cozy with their wood captain's style chairs and fireplaces. I started out with a glass of Malbec which was pretty good. Then we visited the salad bar which comes with every entree. It was a bit of a disappointment. It seemed like they only had iceberg lettuce, and maybe romaine, but not any of the healthier versions of darker greens like spinach or mesclun greens. A lot of the vegetables tasted like they were canned. Of course you could have as little of the salad bar that you wanted, but to say it is free with entree doesn't really count because I am sure what they mean by that is that it is already included in the price. So if you are already paying for it by ordering an entree, I might rather have just a small salad of balsamic vinaigrette and more nutrient rich greens, rather than the chance to make my salad out of a large variety of more substandard ingredients.

Then for appetizer we had Clams Casino. It was clams baked in the half shell with red and green peppers, onion, bacon, and bread crumbs. These were totally birthday dinner worthy. Then, I got the Beef Wellington. According to their menu it is "the standard of excellence". It was very good. "A seared center cut tenderloin topped with mushroom duxelle, wrapped in flaky puff pastry and roasted medium-rare to medium. Served with a roasted shallot and port wine demi-glace." We made Beef Wellington for Thanksgiving in 2009. It was the Cook's Illustrated recipe, and it took us four days. I love the combination of the juiciness of the meat and the crispiness of the puff pastry. The shallot and port wine demi-glace was really great too. I'm not exactly sure what Scott got, but I think it was the New York Strip Steak. I think he added sauteed mushrooms and onions, and also Bearnaise sauce. His was equally as good as mine. It's not as if it is the best steak you have ever tasted, but after discovering this I can't imagine going back to Outback again. They even pretty much listened to my "med rare" and his "rare" requests. We didn't get any dessert because I was stuffed, stuffed with birthday beef. For the price and the quality of the meat and seafood I would recommend it, even if the salad bar is surpassed by both the one at Ruby Tuesday's and at the Slingerlands Price Chopper.

UPDATE [by Scott] Ms. Garlic's recollection is correct. I had a strip loin steak with the onions and mushrooms. The only flaw is that it didn't have the kind of deep char you would get at a Peter Luger. But given the much lower price point, that's forgivable, and the steak was otherwise superb: very tender, well-seasoned, cooked perfectly to rare (which isn't always easy to find at a mid-priced steakhouse.) I also found the salad bar very underwhelming -- and I like salad bars -- but given that it comes with no additional charge you can live with it, because the steak is an excellent value.


  1. When we get the hankering for steak, the missus and I pack up our things and head out to Garden Bistro 24 for steak frites. They also have moules frites and chicken frites.

    The place has a limited menu. But it keeps standards high and food costs low. Plus they aren't trying to be all things to all people, which is a rarity in the Albany area.

    Service can be a bit rough around the edges. So just make sure if you are there for a relaxing leisurely meal, to let them know.

  2. I'd like to try that. I can't have the steak frites at Provence, because they do their fries in peanut oil, but their steak au poivre is excellent. Jack's, of course, is on a different level but at special-occasion-only prices.

  3. I've been wanting to go to the Garden Bistro for a long time! Will have to check it out...

  4. Garden Bistro is fantastic. The chef by his own choosing does not have a freezer nor a microwave, so every thing is fresh, fresh, fresh and explains the limited menu.

  5. Garden Bistro is fantastic. The chef by his own choosing does not have a freezer nor a microwave, so every thing is fresh, fresh, fresh and explains the limited menu.


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