Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Spirit of Albany Series: 677 Prime

This first installment of The Culinary Capital Blog is designed to invite locals and visitors to experience the rich dining culture of Albany through partner restaurants, as part of the Spirit of Albany campaign.  Over the coming weeks this blog will highlight six inspired cocktails that were crafted by these participating restaurants; Jack’s Oyster House, The Hollow, New World Bistro, 677 Prime, La Serre and The Century House. Follow along as we chronicle how the city is depicted through this diner’s journal of food and fare.

One of Albany’s staple establishments – 677 Prime – a restaurant which has served the Capital Region in good stead, since Spring of 2005, is one that undoubtedly delivers the ultimate dining experience. The unmistakable feel of an up-to-the-minute men’s club is exuded in the entry way, where regulars have the option of stowing coveted dining essentials – like a twenty-year-old single malt Scotch whisky – in individually lit lockers appropriately constructed in rich mahogany and metal mesh doors. 

Such a display, affirms the restaurants’ position of marrying luxury with high-toned whim.  In the dining room, tradition meets contemporary in a deceivingly large and lavish dining space.  The wood tones are balanced by cool brushed metal accents, which are highlighted by a smattering of beautiful crystal and industrial light fixtures; it is indeed, the ultimate juxtaposition of masculine and feminine touches. The tufted leather booths coupled with crisp white linens adds to 677's understated sophistication. And a gallery wall pageants the artistic work of talented local artists.

Elegantly constructed floral arrangements and topiaries add brilliant hue to an otherwise quiet and neutral palette. And as the old adage goes, “you eat with your eyes first” and this atmosphere certainly sets the stage for something truly delectable. 

The menu at 677 runs the gamut from the expected to the exceptional. And although it is branded as the quintessential steak-house, some of the offerings buck conventional steak house fare and are truly thoughtful and purposefully inventive, such as the molten “crab cake” dip. The prices do skirt industry standards, however, every guest would attest that hand-cut steaks from top purveyors is definitely worth it.

There’s no dispute that 677 is a classic dinning institution, however, of late, its well-stocked bar now brandishes a cocktail that is anything but traditional.  The Dark and Spicy is an improbable combination of Ginger Beer, a smattering of rums; ADC Quackenbush Still House Rum and Gosling Rum, as well as, Golden Falernum and Simple Syrup, garnished with fresh lemon.  It is well composed, in that, the initial spice attack from the Ginger Beer and Golden Falernum was not overwhelming but rather warming as it facilitated the distinct taste and heft of the Rum to create a long and lingering, pleasant mid-palate.  

Although this drink features enough lemon juice to create somewhat of a palpable pucker, the characteristic acidity was muted by other dominant spice flavors.  However, in the end, it was the subtle saccharine notes which complemented the smooth finish to reveal a truly balanced cocktail; one which distinctly plays on the contours of the city in which it was created to represent.

Editor's note: We asked some of Albany’s best mixologists to create original cocktail recipes that embody the spirit of Albany, and we compiled those recipes into our 2014 Spirit of Albany Recipe Guide. In this exciting blog series local foodie BrigidWashington, a Culinary Institute of America grad and local restaurant consultant, explores each restaurant – it’s menu, it’s atmosphere, and of course, it’s custom cocktail – and provides her perspective on how it all comes together to create part of Albany’s creative culinary scene! (The ACCVB does not, in any way, condone drinking and driving so please designate a driver as we did for this series.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Take a fresh look at Reel Seafood

If you haven’t been to the Reel Seafood Co. on Wolf Road lately, it’s time to return. Since January, the restaurant has undergone a $1 million renovation, hired a new executive chef and extensively trained their staff on the new menu, and launched a new website, all under the leadership of the new owner and daughter of the founder, Aliki Serras.

Voted the #1 Seafood Restaurant by Capital Region Living, Reel Seafood offers guests the freshest seafood cuisine in the area.

The seafood is shipped in daily from the finest seafood purveyors and you'll know after your first bite that they mean fresh. From the ocean to your plate, Reel Seafood Co. demands perfection. You can count on Reel Seafood Co. to provide you with the freshest seafood in the Capital District.

Not a fan of seafood? Don’t worry, this impressive menu includes fresh seafood, quality meats, pasta dishes and homemade dessert.

Reel Seafood Co. is now offering Happy Hour 7-days a week. Stop in for $1 oysters and clams, drink specials, and amazing sushi and sashimi. Take a look at the new menu, read recent reviews, and plan your next visit at