Chico's BBQ

I went to Chico's BBQ, past the Route 20 and 146 intersection in Guilderland. I was a little disappointed, but perhaps boneless buffalo wings were not the thing to get at Chico's.

The ambiance suggests that Chico's is a serious barbecue place. There were motorcycles parked outside the smoker in front of the restaurant. Inside Chico's there is the same rustic, rugged feel. The crowd seemed to be a mix of working class men getting a beer and families looking for a good meal.

The chicken was no better than anything one would get from any restaurant. They were all white meat, but a little dry. Overall, this was a 8 out of 10 on the wing scale.
boneless buffalo chicken wings from chico's
My wings were $8.90, which is slightly more than the Wings of Albany meal I enjoyed so much. Considering I got a coupon for a large ribbon fries that expires at the end of March, I may try Chico's again. I would get pulled pork, or something else that gets made in the smoker.

Reopening of Nathan's in Colonie Center

Nathan's is reopening tomorrow, March 25, in Colonie Center. The space will be used by three chains: Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips, Kenny Rogers Roasters and Nathan's. How that little storefront will churn out all of that food is something I am eager to see.

Wings at Albany

One of my favorite eateries in Albany is Wings over Albany, on Western Avenue right outside of Crossgates Mall.

Wings has a simple ambiance, very similar to Five Guys. The wall is adorned with articles praising the place. The tables and chairs are made of steel, and there is a paper towel holder roll on the table. The simple atmosphere and the paper towels indicates that the diner is in for some serious eating.

I ordered the paper airplane (7 wings), which is one of the cheaper offerings at Wings for $5.49. Though inexpensive, this is a very satisfying meal. These wings are more like a drumstick than a regular wing. They are extremely fresh, meaty and juicy. The chicken used is very high-quality. This is not your typical wing joint. Wings cares about serving you the freshest wings. They also have tons of sauces to choose from. chicken wings from Wings over Albany

If you are looking for a satisfying and tasty meal, Wings is the place to go. This is not the place to go on a first date, but it is solid, quality food.

Bountiful Bread

I had a salad at Bountiful Bread today, and I was reasonably satisfied with my meal. The food is a little costly, but if you want a salad made of fresh ingredients, Bountiful Bread has it.

Bountiful Bread has a casual relaxed atmosphere of a nicely appointed coffee shop. There is a large plasma screen in the restaurant, and there is free water. The food is self-service, and it is not always speedy. I have noticed certain cost-saving measures. The silverware is now plastic and there are no more fresh lemons in the free water.

I had the chopped cobb salad and it was delicious. The tomatoes were ripe, the grilled chicken was moist and juicy. I especially love the olives. These are not canned olives; these are the real deal. They are large and salty, and they add a lot of flavor to the salad. The fresh vegetables are bursting with flavor. The salads at Bountiful Bread are large, so please do not attempt to eat this unless you are on an empty stomach.

My only gripe is that Bountiful Bread does not have honey mustard dressing, which is my failsafe dressing. They could use a wider variety of dressings. I went with a balsamic vinagrette, which was OK.

Cajun Grill Cafe

To spice up my routine, I ate at the Cajun Grill Cafe in Colonie Center. It is above average mall chinese food.

The ambiance of the storefront is above average. Unfortunately, there is a man outside of the storefront handing out free samples. He is not quite as pushy as the women who stands outside of Oyishi Japan. The storefront is clean and modern-looking, and slightly nicer than China Max or Oyishi Japan.

The meal that I ordered is the two meat, one side for $4.50 deal. It is not a bad deal. I got the fried rice, honey chicken and bourbon chicken. The portion is reasonable for lunch, and perhaps a bit small for a dinner. The bit of fried rice that I had was moist and tasty.

The meat portion is all meat; there is no broccoli or other vegetables to take away from the protein. The chicken is served in small cubes which are nicely marinated in sauce. The chicken was not fatty, but it was mostly dark meat. Though the chicken is not fried, it is probably fairly high in calories. The honey chicken has a nice sweet flavor. It is not gourmet, but fairly good for mall chinese food.

I would recommend Cajun Grill Cafe to those seeking out chinese food in Colonie Center. For under $5.00, this is a good alternative to Arby's or Mr. Subb.

Avante Pizza

I went for a salad tonight at Avante Pizzeria on Sand Creek Road in Albany. I have tried the pizza at Avante, but never the salad. I had a large chicken salad. The salad was quite good, but there are better salads out there.

The ambiance at Avante is a little depressing. Though there are tables at Avante, the restaurants customers mostly pick up the food. The ambiance is more like a cafeteria than a restaurant.

What impressed me most about the salad was the large amount of grilled chicken in it. There was perhaps a pound of chicken in the salad. This salad came with more chicken than perhaps any restaurant in the area. Chopped into small bites, the chicken was moist and flavorful.

grilled chicken salad at avante pizzeria
The rest of the salad was not quite as good. The lettuce came from the ends of the head. All the lettuce was iceberg. Other than lettuce, the salad has finely chopped carrots, tomatoes and onions. The onions were a bit bitter. I appreciated the large piece of italian bread that came with the salad.

For $8.99, this salad was way overpriced. The small salad is onlt $5.00, and it comes in a 7" tin rather than a 9" tin. The salad would be a nice compliment to the excellent pizza. However, if you want to go out to eat and have a salad, both Chili's and Bountiful Bread have a better salad and better ambiance.


Tonight I dined at Beff's on Everett Road in Albany. Beff's is a well-known bar with a rustic atmosphere. Though Beff's has been around a very long time, I was a little disappointed by my meal. The food was adequate, and the portions were small.

Beff's does have a lot of items on its menu. It has burgers, pizza and sandwiches. There is something for everyone on this menu, whether you want a snack or a full meal. I opted for the latter. I assumed Beff's has good bar food, so I wanted to explore a more exotic menu item.

I tried the Tom Turkey, which I was assured was not processed, but real turkey. Beff's is true to its word. Though the turkey was real, it was a bit dry. I would have appreciated a bigger portion than the quarter-pound given to me. The lack of turkey was compensated by a large side of mashed potatoes covered in gravy and stuffing. Both were very good.

At my next trip to Beff's, I would probably probably try the pizza, the wings, or the sweet potato fries.

Oyishi Japan

I occasionally like to get the california roll at Oyishi Japan at Colonie Center.

The sushi is made fresh to order. There are a couple of pre-made rolls, but they do not taste old. They are quite large and fresh, with an ample amount of avocado and crab. The rice is sticky and moist. The rolls are not the dried out rolls you may get at the seafood section at Hannaford or Price Chopper.

For $3.49, these rolls are an excellent, healthy snack while mallwalking. Hannaford or Price Chopper's sushi rolls will typically run you around $5.00, however, they are smaller and not as fresh-tasting. Oyishi Sushi offers a solid sushi roll at a very reasonable price.

Oyishi Japan has a varied menu: bubble tea, sushi, tempura and teriyaki chicken. However, they are perhaps most well known for their teriyaki. I did not think I would find bubble tea this far from NYC, but it is true, Colonie Center has bubble tea. Someday I will have to try it.

One of the workers outside the food court stand will constantly push samples of the teriyaki chicken. I find this frustrating because I cannot come within 40 yards of the storefront without having a sample being pushed on me. It is good food, but if I want the food, I will ask for it. I think this unfortunate situation lowers my ranking of the eatery.

Smokey Bones BBQ

I went to Smokey Bones BBQ on Central Avenue in Albany on Friday, and I definitely enjoyed my experience. The food is a solid 9 out of 10, though it still fails to compare to the Pig Pit in Cohoes. However, if you want a solid barbecue meal in a restaurant, this is the place to go.

I ordered the two entrees (pulled pork and smoked brisket) and two sides (mashed potatoes and french fries). I was not a big fan of the pulled pork. It was a dry rub and there were a lot of spices in their that masked the flavor of the meat. However, it was a lot less fatty than the Pig Pit. The smoked brisket was excellent. It was covered in barbecue sauce which was sweet. The fries and potatoes were both homemade and both better than average. I only wishes they had given more of both. The portion was average rather than heaping.

The ambiance is also pretty good. The restaurant was able to easily accomodate our large party, though they do not accept reservations. There are tons of TVs everywhere, so it feels more like sitting in your living room than a restaurant. The waiter was very friendly and helped explain the different options on the menu.

For $13.95, I felt like the amount of food and the quality were reasonable. I enjoyed a nice sampling of some fresh barbecue food. If you are looking for a good meal out, you cannot go wrong with Smokey Bones.

Five Guys Hamburgers

I went to Five Guys Hamburgers in Clifton Park because I has smelled the fries from a distance and had to try them. I sure was glad I did. This was one of those meals where everything tasted great and I left full but not stuffed.

Five Guys has a very interesting ambiance. The decor is very simple inside. There are bags of peanuts left out so people can take a handful of peanuts as an appetizer. This is a good idea, because who doesn't like a free appetizer, however, I like to feel like I am eating in a restaurant rather than a barn. Five Guys does create a bit of a warehouse-like atmosphere, which is fun, but not conducive to a date.

The thing I love about the burgers at Five Guys is that many of the fixins are free. I got my cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato, barbecue sauce and grilled onions, all free of charge. The grilled onions and the cheese are a great combination. The burgers are good, but nothing out of this world.

The fries are the star of the show. I ordered a large to share with my girlfriend, and I would say a large does feed about 2 people. The fries are fried in peanut oil which really does bring out the taste of the potato. They are not shoestring fries like McDonalds, yet they are not as thick as steak fries. Not too greasy, crispy and slightly salted, the fries are perfect. If I was not health-conscious, and I liked off Exit 9 of the Northway, I would have these fries at least every week.

Lastly, I liked that Five Guys has unlimited fountain drinks, which includes four flavors of iced tea. Five Guys is rather costly. A cheeseburger, fries and a drink will run you around $10, which is more similar to Fuddruckers than McDonalds. However, you are paying for quality, free fixins, and unlimited fountain drinks including iced tea. For fast food with no price tag, Five Guys is as good as it gets.

Maurice's Sandwich Shop

I dined at Maurice's sandwich shop on Wolf Road for lunch on Friday. Maurice's is known for their roast beef sandwiches, and it is easy to see why.

What makes this place different is the roast beef. This is roast beef your mother would make if she is a good cook. It is not the processed kind Arby's or Mr. Subb serves. The meat is so soft it practically melts in your mouth. There is the gentle hint of the dry rub seasoning that they use to coat the top of the meat with. The meat is rare but not raw. My favorite part of the sandwich is the bun, which is dipped in gravy.

The roast beef sandwich is a meal to be savored. Maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but good food is hard to find. It costs $5.25, and only comes with a half-sour pickle, which makes it a little bit pricier than Arby's, Bella Napoli or Mr. Subb. With a drink and chips, you are at $9.00. However, I have not yet found a better place in Albany to go for a roast beef sandwich.

The major drawback of Maurice's is their hours. They are only open until 4pm Monday through Friday and they have limited hours on Saturdays. With all the customers Maurice's gets during lunch, why stay open for dinner? It is kind of like the Saratoga track; if it was available all the time, it wouldn't be as good.

Maurice's roast beef sandwich with pickle

Moe's Burritos

I went to Moe's on Wolf Road for one of their burritos. I love Moe's because it is a great value and I convince myself that the combination of rice, beans and vegetables is healthy. Well it is not quite healthy but I always leave full and that is what I love about this place.

Moe's is basically the Mexican food equivalent of Subway. You choose a burrito, taco or salad, you choose your veggies and your sandwich maker assembles your meal. It is fun to watch, and it assures me that what I am getting is fresh and made-to-order. There are no surprises when you open the wrapper.

The atmosphere in Moe's is always fun. It caters to the 18-35 crowd. The sandwiches are named after TV moments from Seinfeld and Friends. For example, there is the Art Vandalay, which is named after a character mentioned on Seinfeld. The staff will yell out, "Welcome to Moe's" when a new customer comes in. The soda, salsa and tortilla chips are unlimited. Moe's also offers fresh-brewed sweetened or unsweetened iced tea. Moe's does not charge customers extra for these niceties.

However, the thing that bug me about Moe's is that the food never quite tastes warm; it is always lukewarm. The burrito shell is put into a steamer, so it always clings to the rice and beans. The food would taste so much better if someone put the assembled burrito on the grill for a couple of seconds.

Bella Napoli

I went to Bella Napoli tonight to see if their subs are as good as their pastries. I have to report that they are.

I had the hot roast beef sandwich on a sesame roll. The roll was piled high with fresh, warm meat. The meat was a little dry and could have used some au jus, but I probably should have ordered the French dip if I wanted gravy. The sesame roll was fresh and toasted and melted in my mouth.

The sandwich was only $3.99, which puts it in league with Arby's and Mr. Subb. However, I would much prefer this sandwich to the Neba. The Neba roast beef tastes slightly artificial to me, plus the sandwich is not piled as high as the Bella Napoli sandwich. Arby's tastes more artificial than Mr. Subb, however, you would probably get more meat on an Arby's sandwich than at Bella Napoli.

If you are looking for a sit-down meal that is afforable and tasty, Bella Napoli is a good place to go. The service is not fast, but sitting in the restaurant is a pleasant experience. The bakery does have it's regulars, which is a testament to how good the place is.

They also have excellent pastries. I attached a picture of one of them.