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Friday, April 13, 2007

Exploring Downtown Albany - V&R Italian Restaurant (Albany, NY)

So it's Restaurant Week here in Albany, and I've finally got around to checking a place out. There were a handful of downtown restaurants to choose from, and my friends and I ended up choosing V&R.

V&R doesn't have the large sign like Lombardo's and Jacks, so it's one of those "blink and you'll miss it" kind of places. They've been around for about seven years now, but like I said, you'd never know it was there. It gets overshadowed by Lombardo's, which is right down the street, and has been around for... ever. But I'll save that for another time.

Accompanying me to dinner was my friend Dan, and of course, Roommate. Since we never ate there before, I checked out some reviews on the Times Union website. The writer gave the place a good review, but the first few user reviews were quite negative. I quickly decided that these people were nuts and were probably the type of customers to complain about EVERYTHING.

We drive by the restaurant and I'm straining to see how busy they are. A couple of people were standing right outside, and from the looks of things, only a few tables were occupied. I started to have my doubts, but we parked anyway and went inside. We were seated just as soon as we came in, and sadly were seated to a rather annoying group.

Service, was not bad at all. A few minutes after sitting down, our waiter, who I want to say his name is Emmett, came by for our drinks. I picked some Tuscan Pinot Grigio-Chardonay... which luckily tasted pretty good. I didn't really take a look at the menu, since I planned on having the three course deal.

One of the three Dan faces. Inside joke.

Not in a meat mood, I chose the Eggplant Parm. Dan ordered the Penne alla Vodka, and roommate picked the Lasagna. Fried Calimari for an appetizer, and we all ordered the soup du jour for the first course.

Roommate... now hopefully he'll stop complaining. And he liked the table next to us... which is crazy.

While we were waiting for our appetizer, Dan and I had a short little MD vs. DO talk. Not that I want to talk about it here, but I think he needs to realize that a doctor is a doctor... and that Neilia has no freakin clue what she's talking about.

Trying to thin myself for the camera

Sadly, I don't have a picture of the Calimari, but good thing I didn't listen to Dan about ordering two of them. One order was more than enough for the three of us, and quite tasty. I didn't take a picture of the soup either, which was a Chicken and White bean. Nothing spectacular to write home about, but I was a little miffed when the waiter took my soup away before I was done. But I kept my mouth shut... had to keep my stomach ready for the meal.

Eggplant parm... I wish I had a better camera!

I wish I ordered the Penne alla Vodka. This isn't to say that the Eggplant Parmesean wasn't good, because it was. It was just a bit too heavy, especially after the calimari and the soup and the bread with lots of butter... bottom line, I was stuffed.

I think Dan would have shared...

While I might have had my fill of eggplant, I definitely had space for dessert. Tiramisu and canoli were the only options, and since I'm not that big a fan of the canoli, I ordered the tiramisu.

Yum yum...

Waiter was nice enough to take my silverware away, but was not nice enough to bring one to eat this. But Dan was nice enough to give me his spoon. Okay, nothing spectacular here.

Once again, we were the last people in the restaurant, and the staff were giving off that "get the hell out of here" vibe. The bill came out to $85.94 (surprised I still remember). Not too bad, especially since there were three of us eating. Tipping, thank goodness Roommate picked up on it was based off of $30 per meal, not the $16. So, with tip, our total came out to $105. Once again, not bad at all.

Since we were downtown, we figured we would hit up some places along Pearl St. When I mean we, I mean Roommate and our friend, Phil. (CORRECTION: Yes, Dan went out with us too. I thought that was obvious... but I guess not.) He had to go to the PhiDE dinner, but we picked him up when we got out of V&R. This is the last time I have those two decide where to go out. The two places we went to- The Pearl and Pure, were pretty dead. Dead and looked like it was infiltrated by freshman girls. And I was over dressed. So to compensate, I drank. And drank. And drank. And wouldn't you know it, first time the alcohol beat me this year.

I had to put it up. Outside of the Pearl... with all the other lame ass people there. But so all of you know, the roommate thinks the Pearl is the "shit." Yea, it's shit alright.

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