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Oasis Mediterranean Cafe

 

 Oasis

 Oasis is relatively new in Albany and is located at 4 Deleware ave right near Lark Street and Madison Ave.   Oasis is small but clean, but is at times- very slow and a bit inconsistent.   I've visited many times.   The food always taste great, but the selection varies and sometimes the wait time for preparation seems like it takes longer than it should.  

During non-peak times, it appears that one person runs the entire show - taking phone calls and orders, ringing register, and cooking and prepping the meals.   If there is a crowd or a line, it could cause delays for you to get your food or to even place your order.

Seating is very limited, as there are two counters with a few high chairs and two small tables to sit at, so this is more of a stop-and-go or take out place, but is at a good location for that, especially near the lark street scene.

The menu is here http://www.oasisalbany.com/ and I would've probably given more forks for a rating if the review was based solely on food quality, portion, and flavor alone, but I have to factor in service, atmosphere, and rate the overall expierence which brings me to 3 forks. However, if you like mediterranean food, it is worth a trial visit.  

 Falafel  MixedGrill
 Falafel Platter  Mixed Grill Platter

 

 

cost5-15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sally's Streetside Cafe

Sallys

Sally's Streetside Cafe is located in a small strip mall, 158 Sacandaga Road, in Schenectady. Depending on when you arrive, don't be surprised if you pass by Sally herself taking a small break outside. When you walk in be prepared for a very eclectic decor. Everything below the waist is decorated in wood, while everything above is painted maroon, and the juke box against the wall cranks out everything from pop music to soft rock.

What makes the biggest impression, more than anything else, is the warmth, friendlyness, and attentiveness of the staff. You really feel as if you've stepped into the warm, inviting kitchen of a close friend who was just waiting for you to stop by like you always do.

Brian and I went for breakfast (which they serve all day). We were greeted immediately, which is huge for us, and told to sit anywhere we wanted. Seconds later coffee was served and we were briefed on specials. Our waitress was a little shy in answering the age old question "what's good here," but she quickly warmed up and told us of their huge portions and homemade hash.

Brian ordered the Homemade Corned Beef Hash & Eggs. I ordered the Short Stack of Italian French Toast with a side of Bacon. I was asked if I wanted my bacon "limpy or crisp." No one, ever, in any breakfast dining experience we've had, has asked that question. We give two thumbs up for that alone. I ordered my bacon "limpy."

Food was fast. Brian's hash had a great crisp to it, was a huge portion, and had great texture. Our one critique was that it needed seasoning. Salt & pepper did the trick, and took the dish to the territory of amazing. My Italian french toast was also a huge portion (especially for being a short stack) but the batter lacked flavor. I loved that it was soaked all the way through, but it needed cinnamon and vanilla. All I could taste was the egg. The bacon wasn't limpy, which was a disappointment. However, I was able to look past that given the flavor.

Brian and I would definitely return to Sally's. Friendly service, and scratch made food goodness makes tthis place worth going to.

SallysBacon

SallysHash

Short Stack of Italian French Toast w/ Bacon

Hash & Eggs

4fork

cost5-15
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Caffe Italia

After several recommendations from friends and co-workers, I finally had the opportunity to dine at Caffe Italia.   In short, it was quite possibly the best Italian meal I've ever had and certainly the best in Albany and without a doubt in my top 3 in the Capital District.

Service was top notch and nearly flawless and very accommodating, as they were willing to modify two of our entree orders, to our liking.

I ordered the special of the night Asparagus Appetizer, which was roasted asparagus wrapped with prosciutto, and finished with a butter garlic wine sauce. Very flavorful and cooked perfectly with the proper portion size. A dining companion of mine ordered the special-of-the-night soup, which was roasted red pepper puree with croutons and allowed me to taste.  I wish I had ordered it as it was one of the best soups I've had this wintertime.   I failed to get pictures for either of the starters, but would personally order both again when I return.

Each entree comes with a house salad which was served on a chilled plate.  A nice touch and the salad was very fresh and dressed well, with the choice of gorgonzola dressing with gorgonzola shavings for an additional charge.

The entrees got smiles and thumbs up from all four of us.  One ordered the Mussels special which came with an unbeatable pile of mussels, served prepared with your choice of red or white sauce.  Another ordered the Veal Rollatini which was executed perfectly and tasted heavenly.  Still another ordered the Chicken Sorrento, which had a portion size so big it was 3 meals and tasted great and cooked just right.  Lastly, I opted for Veal Mateo.  This isn't on the menu, but the Chicken Mateo was the special of the night, so I asked if I could have them make the switch.  A "certainly and a smile" was the answer for that request.  Our server also let me know that meal could always be ordered.

Parking is a breeze and free. The atmosphere is a small dining room size, making the meal and atmosphere feel cozy, along with nice table linens.  However, due to the number of tables in the dining room and the popularity, I recommend reservations, as all tables were filled the night I dined there. 

Caffe Italia is located at 662 Central Ave, Albany, NY and their phone number is (518) 459-8029, for reservations.

Menu Here: http://www.allmenus.com/ny/albany/29986-caffe-italia/menu/   See you there!

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Veal Rollatini Chicken Sorrento
IMG 8739c 
Veal Mateo

5fork

cost25-35
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Tailored Tea

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Tailored Tea is located at 1010 Troy-Schenectady Road. It's a teahouse/cafe with a B&B feel. Very unique for the area, but I think it works for them.

We went for breakfast, and upon entering we were greeted and seated promptly. Our server was friendly and attentive, and walked us through some of their teas.

We ordered two half pots; one of Chai and one of Peach Rooibos. The half pots were more than enough tea for us. It felt like the tea would never end! It was a great value. My one critique would be that when the honey was delivered, it was almost empty. I had to do the "wait and pour" in order to get honey into my tea.

The food was a different story. I ordered the Eggs Benedict on their Savory Scone of the Day. Brian ordered their Pancakes. Brian's pancakes were passable in flavor but had a rubbery texture. My eggs were not only dead overcooked (no poached runny-ness to be seen) but they would have been better served without the scone. The scone was so rock hard, I could've broken a window with it. It was inedible, and it boggled my mind that it left the kitchen in such a fashion in clear view of the chef and the waitress. There was no excuse.

If you're looking for a teahouse (sans food), then Tailored Tea does tea exceptionally well. If you want food, go elsewhere.

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Eggs Benedict Pancakes
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Half Pot of Tea

2fork

cost5-15
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DeFazio's

DeFaziosSign

Defazio's is located at 266 4th Street in Troy. It can be kind of tricky to get to, given some of Troy's surrounding one-way streets, but well worth the trip.

Brian and I were in the mood for homemade pasta, so I went searching. DaFazio's popped up several times, which made us want to know more. Brian did his research and made resevations for the two of us (highly, highly recommended!). As you walk up, you'll notice there are two sides to DeFazio's; the market, and the pizzeria/restaurant.

When we walked in, we immediately knew why reservations came highly recommended. There were all of 6 tables, with a lot of business coming from delivery and takeout orders.

We were greeted immediately by a very nice gentleman behind the counter. He indicated our table, and came right over to get us situated. He explained the menu options, gave us the specials, and also told us that if there's a combination we wanted that wasn't represented in one specific dish on the menu, to let them know. Since their dishes are made fresh in house, combinations aren't a problem.

Our waitress greeted us a little later. We asked some questions (including what dishes were her favorite). Not only was she conversational, but she was knwledgeable and eager to assist. Brian ordered the Cajun Chicken Alfredo, while I ordered the Fettucine Rosario with a side of Meatballs.

All entrees come with garlic bread, and a piping hot basket of the homemade deliciousness was delivered to our table. I don't know what they do to their garlic bread, but it was buttery, garlicky, seasoned, and amazing.

Our entrees made their debut, piping hot, and we dug in. Brian's Cajun Chicken Alfredo was done very well. The chicken was moist, and the sauce had a really nice kick. A couple of critiques were the roasted red peppers which weren't listed as coming with the dish, and Brian's pasta was a little more al dente than he would have preferred.

I'm a fan of al dente, so I loved the chew on my fettucine. The meatballs were amazingly moist, and the sauce blend of alfredo and marinara was exactly what I was looking for. My one critique is that the dish could've used a touch of salt, and there was none on the table.

Our service was second to none. Even given how busy and jam packed the restaurant was, no less than three employees came over to make sure we were doing okay, asking us how we liked our dishes. One of DeFazio's long time regular customers (25 years) even took time out to chat with us and share his favorite meals.

Everything about this small intimate setting, with tasty scratch made food, makes us anxious to return for their pizzas. All of our research points to their pizzas as being "must haves," not the least of which included seeing the piping hot masterpieces being delivered to nearby tables. Given the same crust, DeFazio's will even do half of one specialty pizza on one side, and half of another specialty pizza on the other. No pizzeria we've encountered has offered to do that.

This place is a gem. We'll be back. The service was stellar, the food was tasty, and the atmosphere was as welcoming as you can get. There are lots of good things coming out of DeFazio's.

PS - 1) They only take cash or checks (no plastic). 2) You can bring your own alcohol. Wine has a small $2 per person corkage fee.

DeFazios1

DeFazios2

Fettucine Rosario w/Meatballs

Cajun Chicken Alfredo

4fork

cost15-20
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