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Ambition Bistro Coffee House & Eatery

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Ambition Bistro, also known as Ambition Coffee House and Eatery, is located at 154 Jay Street in Schenectady. Now, if you're not familiar with downtown Schenectady, allow me to pass along something I learned the hard way. Not all of Jay Street is actually a street! There's a small one block section of "Jay Street" that's actually a sidewalk. This is where you will find Ambition. I don't advise driving down the sidewalk.. I'm pretty sure law enforcement would frown on that. So, cross your fingers and find parking!

Ambition Bistro boasts a menu of fresh made specialty sandwiches, coffees and lattes, cocktails, wine, and pastries. My original plan was to order a couple of sandwiches to go. Then I walked inside. The decor is so quirky, and off the wall that it's actually welcoming. It had that cafe feel of, "grab a seat, grab a latte, grab a sandwich and stay a while." So I did. There are even cafe couches in the far back.

When you walk in, there's a sign saying to seat yourself at any clean table. Now, this admittedly had me worried. Would the wait staff know that a new customer just randomly occupied a seat? Are they really that attentive? They were pretty busy. Well, they really were that attentive. Seconds after I took a seat, I noticed one of the servers poke his head around. A minute later, a server (I couldn't tell if it was the same one) was delivering a sandwich to the table behind me, and told me he'd be right back. Another minute (or two) later, he was back and I had menu in hand. A few minutes after that, a second server came to make sure I had gotten a drink order in. Since I had, I decided to take the opportunity to order my sandwiches.

My meal consisted of the "Brie My Raspberry," and "Jay Walking" sandwiches ($8 each). The Brie My Raspberry is a seasoned, grilled turkey breast (not the cold cut stuff folks!) with warm, melted brie and a raspberry compote served on grilled sourdough bread. This was a perfect balance of flavors. The turkey was fall apart tender, and so juicy. The raspberry compote was perfectly balanced (hardly tart at all), and the brie was warm and creamy. Brie was a good call for this dish, because a stronger cheese might've clashed or overpowered the flavors. The sourdough was hearty, and held the juicyness well. I wonder if it's homemade.

The Jay Walking is a grilled chicken breast with bacon, cheddar, and a house made bbq sauce served on grilled multigrain. When the Jay Walking arrived, I pinched off a piece of the grilled chicken and have to say I was mildly disappointed that the chicken breast wasn't seasoned. Then I took a bite of the whole sandwich. That'll teach me to pick apart my food (not really). The bbq sauce brought everything together. Eating the sandwich, as a whole, added so much flavor that there was no real way to tell that the chicken itself hadn't been seasoned. I can't recall a dish with grilled chicken breast that actually managed to get away with that. My one critique about the Jay Walking was that the house bbq sauce could have used a bit more tang (more worcestershire maybe). It was a little too sweet, and a little too thin in consistency. The multigrain bread, as with the sourdough above, was hearty and really tasted homemade.

The service was impeccable, fast and friendly. I will say that, in my humble opinion, $8 is a bit pricey for a standard sized sandwich; even with the chips. On the flip side, if you're going to do crafted sandwiches, do it right. Ambitions does it right. So, if you find yourself in Schenectady, wanting a meal that's light and tasty; complete with a warm, unique, and friendly atmosphere then you need to visit Ambition.

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"Brie My Raspberry" "Jay Walking"