Anniversary Dinner At Angelo's 677 Prime
Ms. Garlic and I haven't been to what is frequently cited as Albany's best restaurant in a long time, so for our anniversary we decided to go. It still has many pleasures to recommend, but at least one main course was crucially flawed. To start with the high points, the service was friendly, efficient and polished. Our "lobster cocktail" appetizer (served with roasted corn pico, cilantro, crisp rice pearls, smoked maize, and a chili crema) was superb. The by-the-glass wine list is unparalleled in my experience in the city -- I had an excellent 2005 Barolo for under $15. The atmosphere is nicely romantic. I'll let Ms. Garlic tell you about her salmon, but it was very good. But -- apart from this, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play -- there was my steak. Not that it was bad, not by any means -- it was a high-quality, generous piece of meat that came with a pleasingly charred exterior. But given a very high price for steak that isn't advertised as and doesn't taste dry-aged, the execution has to be perfect. Rather than the requested medium rare, it was cooked to medium or a bit beyond, a temperature that would have been acceptable (if not optimal) for a rib eye, but for my leaner New York strip it rendered the meat a little tough. (I had a $23 shell steak at our surprisingly good hotel restaurant in Rochester that was tastier at half the price because it was properly cooked.) Readers may ask why I didn't send it back, a fair question. The server first asked before I had had a chance to taste, and in the extremely dim lighting distinguishing medium rare from medium would have been impossible. By the time she came back, I had eaten too much to be comfortable sending it back. I should have thought to use the flash on my phone right off the bat:
The highlight of the salmon was the delicious brown sugar tomato glaze, and I also really liked the tasty tomato salad accompaniment. The portion size was perfect. I really enjoyed the flaky texture, and it was a great anniversary entree. When we went a couple years ago I ordered the ridiculous sounding burger served on a croissant, and this time I was secretly disappointed I couldn't order that again (but maybe that's the type of thing one shouldn't make a habit of ordering, so that's alright).The Bear's, I would give Aneglo's the nod in terms of the appetizers, the accompaniments, and the drink options. But in terms of steak, I would say that The Bear's offered steak of similar quality, better prepared, at a substantially lower price point (especially when you consider that The Bear's includes vegetables and starch with the main course, whereas at Prime entrees are a la carte.) I would go back to Angelos for drinks and apps, or to sample other parts of the menu, but on the rare occasion when I want a steakhouse experience we're likely to head for Duanesburg.