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New World Bistro Bar, Albany


Restaurants & Bars 23

New World Bistro Bar, Albany

meg944 | Mar 31, 2009 11:44 AM

Jack and I made it in to the new New World Bistro Bar last Sunday. We had a lot going on, so we made an early (5 PM) reservation, thinking we could slip in while it was quiet. Hah! The place was already jumping by the time we arrived – don’t know if that’s because of movie-goers or just the excitement this place has caused in its first week. It was nice to see such an eclectic group there – families, older folks, young singles, etc. The room has a very urban hip look, with exposed brick, local art and funky lighting. I love the somewhat more artsy casual décor at NWHC, but would prefer this for a more urbane, Manhattan-style night out. (That translates to, basically, “our out of town friends will be less confused by the décor here.”)

With just the two of us, our sampling options were limited, but we over-indulged just a bit with the meze sampler and all of the “Forbidden Pleasures.” The meze had a chunk of manchego with fig jam, two wasabi tobikko eggs (sooo good!) some beet/orange/goat cheese salad (very nice,) pickled gigante beans and roasted red peppers (good) and “festive” olives (basically just an assortment of olives.) It was nice to try so many tastes and the portion seemed reasonable for $12, although in an ideal world I would have rather swapped out the cheese and olives for something more unusual. They have so many interesting-looking apps, salads and pizzas I don’t know that I will ever get around to eating a standard main there.

The “Forbidden Pleasures” portion of the menu includes gamebird rillettes, roasted marrowbones, menudo, boudin noir and chicken liver pate. Our server thoughtfully brought everything in two courses so our table wasn’t over-crowded. The chicken liver pate came with its own little container of cornichons (from which I ate about 1/ 2 dozen of the tasty little things,) toast, mustard and little squares of aspic. It was rich and delicious. Rillette is basically duck confit and is also served with toast and mustard. We quite liked it, and the serving is more than ample, but having both it and the pate makes for something of a fat overload. The boudin noir was good but I actually found the accompanying white bean salad more enticing. Menudo was great! We only got the “taste” potion but it was substantial – I can only assume paying for the bowl would get you quite a vat! This was spicy, rich and luscious. Finally, our favorites were the roasted marrowbones, which came with apple butter, sea salt and toast. I absolutely loved this – Jack makes this for me on occasion but said that, considering the work involved and the very reasonable $6 menu price for this, he may have roasted his last bone.

We paired this with one of their wines by the bottle. One nice feature – while they have a pretty good selection of wines by the glass already, they will open any bottle as long as you buy at least two glasses. We had no problem finishing the whole bottle, though. We got a mid-range Australian Shiraz that had more depth than I expected. Unfortunately I can’t find the name on the online menu, but it was, I think, something Jack and was $39. They also have a specialty drink menu I forgot to look at, and a selection of beers by the glass, plus a “beer flight” option, with small portions of any four for $5.

Service was good – our server seemed just a bit TOO perky but I can hardly fault someone for that. And for all our indulgence, the bill before tip was only $90.

The menu emphasizes that they try to use local, sustainable, seasonal food as much as possible, a plus in our mind. We were already fans of Ric Orlando's cooking but are happy to be able to get it much closer to home these days.

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