Carmine's Albany Restaurant was a Brazilian Churrascaria until recently when it closed and re-opened as an Italian Restaurant. All 3 Cr Foodies members had been to the old Carmines Grill a few times, and weren't overly impressed, so we didn't go in with high hopes this time. However, switching back to Italian style was a return to Carmines strengths of the past, so we stopped in for lunch since we work nearby.
When we first wandered in, there was no one present to greet us. We were just standing there and looking at the vacant bar area. After a few minutes someone finally appeared and sat us. The person that sat us was the server and appeared to be covering the entire dining floor. At times, he seemed to be a bit disjointed. He came over with water, started to walk away, did a quick turn and remembered he should tell us the specials, and came back. It did take some time to place our order.
Next, He delivered out warm bread and a toppings tray which had a tomato basil butter, an oil and basil dip, sea salt, and Parmesan cheese. Both the dip and the butter were fresh and flavorful. It was nice to have that tray of toppings remain for the entire meal.
We asked about then ordered the Arancine Del Giorno as an appetizer ($6). It is basically a lightly fried risotto ball with an ingredient that changes periodically. This time it was bolognese. We both found it to be a bit bland in flavor, and wouldn't have known it was bolognese if the waiter hadn't told us. The risotto was a little overcooked. Overall it was just ok.
Brian's entree was Crispy Parmesan Gnocchi Bolognese ($10). The gnocchi was cooked perfectly as it was lightly pan seared with parmesan added. It was amazing. It had a strong flavor and a nice crunch. The bolognese sauce was good, and complimented the gnocchi well.
Kent ordered Dave's Beans and Greens ($11). The flavor was fantastic and the portion size was just right. The pasta was al dente and the greens and the homemade meatballs were fresh tasting and flavorful. He would recommend it and order it again.
When we got the bill, it was a bit higher than we had expected. They had charged us $9 for the appetizer that was listed as $6 on the menu. Later, we noticed that the dinner price for the same appetizer was $9, so it was probably just the wrong button pushed on the pos system. The credit card charge also says Carmines Brazilian Grill, which to us both showed that they have some kinks they still need to work out. Service will also need to improve if they plan to keep a return lunch crowd. From the time we walked in to the time we got our bill was over an hour, which rules it out as a standard locale for many downtown workers. Even with the various issues with service and the mediocre appetizer, our entrees were good enough that we will be trying Carmines again in the future.
Website and Menu here: http://www.carminesrestaurant.com/
|Toppings Tray||Arancine Del Giorno|
|Crispy Parmesan Gnocchi Bolognese||Dave's Beans and Greens|