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The Ones That Got Away

January 9, 2014

Did you happen to catch the column Jeff Janssens wrote about Northeast Dumplings House on All Over Albany?

This place has captured my imagination since I caught wind of its opening. And the more I hear, the more excited I get. Third Auntie had a great experience there, as did Kerosena, and now The Masticating Monkey. The only problem is that Jeff mentions in his piece that the place seems empty.

If you live anywhere in the vicinity of the Capital Region, stop waiting. Get in your car and go. They have soothing noodle soups that are perfect for winter. And, of course, dumplings. But if people don’t go, then this very promising Chinese restaurant that focuses on the regional cuisine of the north will go away.

Do not let that happen. Restaurants close all the time. Some manage to stay open for an impossibly long time despite all odds. Bob & Ron’s, which has been an institution in Albany, appears to be on the rocks. But no amount of foot traffic can save it, since the owner seems to be all bent out of shape about taxes.

But I understand. Despite my best intentions, I never made it to a few places before they closed this past year. Hear my lamentations.

Speaking of the old time classics, I never made it to the South End Tavern in Troy. And I love taverns. This joint had been on my radar since shortly after moving to the area. It was famous for its anachronistic women’s entrance sign. But I heard the food was decent, if overall very brown. Towards the end though, I also heard quality had declined, and that kept me away. But I’m bummed that I didn’t go when I had the chance.

Red Poppies looked like it had promise on Lark Street. The Polish food shop was well lit, and food was freshly prepared. I happen to love Polish food even though Mrs. Fussy can’t stand it. So I had always thought about popping in for a solo lunch. All I can offer are lame excuses about never being in the area around lunch time, and not wanting to deal with Lark Street parking when in a time crunch for lunch. I’m sorry that I missed you, Red Poppies. I thought you would be around for a while and took you for granted.

The Beekman Street Bistro in Saratoga Springs has closed up shop. Saratoga has been a big blind spot for me with regards to eating out. I’m going to blame this one on my kids. They are small, so Mrs. Fussy and I tend to stay in most evenings. Sometimes I’ll go out without her. But really we need to find a reliable babysitter. because this is getting ridiculous. Although even then, if you think I’m tough on restaurants, you should talk to the missus. Getting her to go to a nicer place in the Capital Region is a hard sell. My role is to play recon and make sure the restaurant is up to snuff.

I always heard good things about The Chocolate Mill in Glens Falls. Man, that’s even further away than Saratoga Springs. But I did manage to pop into their smaller spot in Saratoga Springs a few times while that was open. At the very least I got to enjoy their chocolates. I was especially fond of the ones filled with passionfruit. But there was so much in their cases that I wanted to try on subsequent visits. Now there can be no subsequent visits. Dammit.

The Excelsior Pub was a cozy spot. I’m glad that I got to go there once. New York beers and New York spirits in a quaint, casual atmosphere without pretense? It was really my speed. What wasn’t my speed was having to drive to get to a bar. Public transit in the Capital Region is awfully limited during the later evening hours. Plus, I have no desire to drive while impaired (which I personally consider to happen at a much lower threshold than the law). So unless I can walk there, or someone else volunteers to drive, my bar-going days are diminishing.

I can’t write a wrap-up of places I’m sad to see go and not mention All Good Bakers. Luckily, I went there a lot, and I’m thankful for every moment I got to spend within its walls. Seriously, the place was more than a restaurant. It was a cozy gathering place for likeminded food enthusiasts in the region and beyond. Hopefully something else will rise up to fill the void it left in the community.

And if we’re talking about institutions leaving the scene, Mr. Dave has once again packed up his things and gone home. At least this time he hasn’t taken the archive of his posts down with him. It’s probably just his annual winter funk. But I bet when the Shamrock Shake raises its ugly head from beneath the snow, Mr. Dave too will return. This seems to be his way.

It’s probably bad form to delight in some local restaurant closing their doors. But I can’t help myself. Sutter’s Mill & Mining had sunk to new lows in the last few months I was in Albany. Now it’s gone, and whatever comes next will be an improvement. I’m hoping the new owners do a good job, because the spot is super convenient, and I love the mature trees on the back deck.

But I digress. Now it’s time to go to Northeast Dumplings House. I’m serious, dammit. I may even have to make a special trip up to Albany in January just to be on the safe side. Maybe you can tempt me further with tales of your amazing meals.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2014 10:39 am

    Don’t worry, NE Dumpling House is on my radar for next week.

    Enjoy your visit with the trainer! Tell him/her your bestie in Albany says to do something with Kettlebells.

  2. January 9, 2014 12:57 pm

    I was so sad about Beekman Street Bistro. Whenever we managed to find a sitter, that was our go to place.

  3. January 9, 2014 1:32 pm

    Planning a trip very soon.

    Another one that people might have let get away: Oasis Mediterranean Cafe in Central Square. Solid falafal at a reasonable price. It appears to be closed since the new year.

  4. January 9, 2014 5:17 pm

    Cruised by NE Dumplings House a couple times last night. Earlier, 5-ish, there were a few diners in there, which was a heartening sight. Later, though, around 8:30, it seemed empty.

    Anyway, I have more coming, probably tomorrow on my blog, about the restaurant, as I do think it could be encouraging for people to know more about their food than just the potato dish.

  5. January 16, 2014 2:53 pm

    I moved from Albany to Glenville around the new year and the thing I miss most of Albany is the food! Glenville is a wasteland of anything worth going out to eat for….except for a new sushi restaurant Neon Sushi. The bar is questionable ( no bartender) but the food is SO GOOD. The problem – nobody is ever there. Saturday night has maybe 3 tables full. All the servers and sushi chefs are obviously very bored. I’m afraid the place will close.

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