Long and probably boring story short: we’ve had restaurant.com gift certificates for years, and finally wound up checking out one of the restaurants.
Now, I am in love, and I want for no other restaurant.
One Friday night, Albany John and I went to dinner at The Epicurean. The Epicurean is located on the very outskirts of Troy, NY, way up north. But it is still Troy. It’s kind of like going to Grafton Park, but closer on Route 7.
Ok, so now that we’ve got geography out of the way – You’ll see a little strip mall on your left, and nestled inside is The Epicurean. It’s normally opened for breakfast/lunch items, and is only open for dinner by reservation on Friday and Saturday nights, from 5:30 pm, with the last seating at 9 pm.
I originally made our reservations for 7:30 pm the week of, and after a series of follies (to put it nicely) I had to push it later to 8 pm. The day of. 1.5 hours before we were scheduled to be there. But it was no problem, and we arrived just before 8 pm.When I first called for reservations, I asked if they were still participating in restaurant.com gift certificates, and was answered with a convivial “Why, yes, of course.” No huffiness (you know some places give you the stink eye if you use coupons). After looking at their menu online, I was going to reserve a spot anyway, but this was so nice to hear.
The Epicurean had three long wood tables that they were seating guests at. We were seated at a table with another group of 5 or so guests. We weren’t elbow to elbow – there was an empty seat next to both Albany John and me, giving us our own private little end of one table. It didn’t feel like we were a part of their group, nor were they a part of ours, but I enjoyed the coziness.
The entire feel of the place just oozed ‘bistro’. Low, warm lights, nice background music, rustic decor. It was also cool to be in some place that is normally a breakfast/lunch stop, with goods for sale on the walls. I imagined for a moment that I was in a food speakeasy.
The service was impeccable. A man and woman team who truly cared about hospitality served us.
When we were first seated, I didn’t have any silverware. I figured I would eventually get them when I ordered (no food in front of me at that point), and shortly after filling our water glasses, the man apologized profusely for forgetting to set my seat.
We perused the menus. We oohed and ahhed. The wine list was also great – small, with wine available by the bottle for what I thought were affordable prices. Were it not just the two of us, we would have gotten a bottle. I ended up ordering a Lindemann’s Framboise Lambic, which is one of my favorite drinks.
It cost $7.50 for a 12-ounce bottle, which I found to be incredibly fair.
We received a trio of amuse bouches – in the tall container, a fresh cream with chickpeas and pesto; a delicious tapenade, and a bit of bread with cucumber and onion. The tapenade was the best I’ve ever eaten – the olive oil light and floral, and the occasional punch of fresh garlic.
We also got bread with butter that was the “Chef’s Secret”. It was refilled when finished, too! Albany John is thinking anchovy paste is involved somewhere along the recipe.
Albany John ordered Frog Legs for his appetizer. He loved them. I have to say, they kind of squicked me out for a hot second, but they do taste quite nice. Albany John likened frog legs to having a cross between chicken and fish flavor.
I ordered the escargots with garlic butter. I’ve never had them before and was drawn into trying them. They were very nice, but not something I’m sure I would order again. The preparation was excellent; I think escargots may just not be my thing.
In addition to their wonderfully crafted menu, The Epicurean had two fish specials. Albany John ordered one of them – a salt encrusted whole trout with capers and lemon sauce. He heard ‘capers’ and he was sold. That man loves him some capers.
It was excellent – cooked to perfection, and loaded with capers. The roasted tomatoes melted in your mouth. I’ve never had any better.
I ordered the Veau Oscar, a veal dish with a creamy sauce and shredded crab with asparagus on the side. The veal was breaded in cutlet form, and melted in my mouth. The two cutlets of veal were seasoned perfectly. The two delicious cutlets were laid atop some wild rice. The crab was a perfect accompaniment to the dish – it was so perfectly moist and tasted of the sea.
I never reached for the salt or pepper. I’ve never had dishes so incredibly well prepared, needing no further seasoning. I cannot fully expound on the perfection of these plates.
I even finished all of my food. Normally I eat half of the food, and then bring the leftovers home. The veau oscar was so outstanding I could not stop myself from eating bite after bite until it was all gone.
The veal cost $24. We were expecting the trout special to be higher since it was a special, but it only cost $22! The escargots were $7, and the generous plate of frog legs was $8. Our final bill was $73, $48 after the restaurant.com $25 off coupon.
As far as I am concerned, The Epicurean is my new go-to restaurant. We were made to feel like welcomed guests. The meals were even delivered from one side and taken from another. The staff made us feel incredibly comfortable and timed everything perfectly. We were not the only ones receiving this impeccable service – everyone else in the restaurant was treated remarkably as well.
Their menu is also perfect – adventurous plates for those seeking new thrills, and other dishes for those seeking familiarity. I can see myself being able to bring any of my family members and friends to The Epicurean with no problem whatsoever.
I absolutely cannot wait until my next meal at The Epicurean. (Don’t worry; I’m already planning it!)