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Two for Review

August 1, 2011

Unforeseen circumstances prevented us from posting all last week, but hopefully you survived without us and were able to carry on. Phew. But now let’s get back to business. Today’s post is really for locals only – those in the Albany, NY area – as the restaurants reviewed here will hold little interest for those not in the region. As a qualifying statement, we did not experience enough of the menu at these establishments to write complete reviews, so what follows are culinary synopses of a couple of local eateries.

Bob and Ron’s Fish Fry

You can tell from the giant neon sign in front that Bob and Ron’s has been around a while. Their menu is basic: fish, shrimp, scallops, clams, etc., all deep fried and served with the usual fries and coleslaw – standard stuff for a fish fry restaurant. When the menu is so simple, and can easily be found at other fish fry restaurants around town, you’d expect the quality to be a little better than mediocre. But unfortunately, that’s exactly what we found at Bob and Ron’s. We understand that fried food doesn’t take a long time to cook, but when you’ve barely uttered the words “fish fry” to the guy behind the counter and he’s almost instantaneously plopping down a platter of food, something’s not right. It was obvious that the giant pieces of fish had been fried earlier, and then quickly re-fried when the order was placed. This made for overcooked fish in a breading that was more chewy than crunchy, which of course was extremely disappointing for a restaurant with “Fish Fry” in the name. We also tried the shrimp (which did seem to be cooked to order), and while miles ahead of the fish in terms of crunch, the shrimp themselves were bland and dry. Luckily bottles of hot sauce were readily available to add some flavor. The fries were ok, not bad but not worth returning for. And the coleslaw was very stringy, with the cabbage sitting in a puddle of watery mayo. The kids’ menu cheeseburger was the best thing we tried, which should tell you all you need to know.

The MHK gives Bob and Ron’s 1.5 out of 5 stars.

Quigley’s

Quigley’s in East Greenbush is not going to win points for having an original menu. This bar and grill features the usual fare – wings, pizza, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and entrees like fish, chicken, and steak. However there are a couple of things that do set it apart – Quigley’s features quite a few varieties of sauces for their wings, including lemon pepper, garlic parmesan, Thai peanut, Cajun spiced, hot and smokey, and General Tsao’s. The other thing that makes Quigley’s worth visiting is the owner/bartender/server. He was very welcoming and friendly; even when food is average, having a nice guy taking care of you enhances the experience. We tried a few varieties of the wings (they’re only 25 cents per wing on Sundays) – the lemon pepper did not disappoint, the Cajun had some actual heat to them, the General Tsao’s (named after the Chinese-American sauce found in many restaurants) was sweet, but had no real “Chinese” flavor, and the Thai peanut definitely had some peanut flavor, but otherwise nothing really “Thai” about it. But the chicken was plump and juicy and delicious. We also tried the patty melt, a standard for this type of restaurant, and Quigley’s does it right. The rye bread was crunchy around the crust, the patty was thick, juicy, and cooked perfectly medium as I had ordered, the large ribbons of onion were sweet and tasty, and the melted Swiss tied it all together. Yes, it’s just a patty melt – but making the seemingly simple things correctly is a skill not all restaurants possess. It was served with potato salad that while a little bland, had nice chunks of tender potato within. Our younger diner got a cheeseburger that was just fine for his size, served with tater tots; not sure if the tots were fresh or frozen, but they’re tater tots – crunchy outside, velvety inside – so you can’t really go wrong.  Prices at Quigley’s were more than reasonable, especially with the deal on the wings. It’s not necessarily a place worthy of making a special trip, but if you’re in the area at lunch or dinner time, Quigley’s is a good option.

The MHK gives Quigley’s 3 out of 5 stars!

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