Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fantasies of Good Restaurants

Recently the owner of a couple of restaurants on Lark Street closed them and added a bit of snark about trying to operate in a hostile neighborhood that wouldn't let his businesses stay open until 4am, so he couldn't make any money.  Or something like that.  In my opinion, the reason there was no good money  flowing into his restaurants was because there was no good food. Honestly, the last time I ordered a cheese plate in the semi-classy place, I got something that was a couple pieces of sliced baguette that was more like styrofoam than bread, a 1/2 lb. pile of orange "cheddar", chopped into random teensy pieces and dumped into an unappealing pile and some hugely dirty-looking ugly grapes.  There was enough to feed a drunken party of four, who probably wouldn't have noticed how ugly it was because drunk.

In any event, when Steve Barnes over at the Table Hopping blog posted the notice about the closing and asked people what kind of restaurant would be a good replacement on that block, the regular angry commenters got into their regular tedious fight over Lark Street bars and neighborhood weenies, and so the question was left largely unanswered by decent thoughtful folks who want the street to be a good place to hang out.

Since I live in the neighborhood, I'm very interested in what kind of restaurants and bars are starting up here.  The places vacated are big and I heard they have a shared kitchen between them, which may have a weird impact on what kind of business can survive there. So I'm trying to let my fantasies blossom and have some interesting ideas that could take up a space with multiple stories, multiple fronts and a shared kitchen.

What I see is nooks for seating and at least three different styles.  I think Albany has probably seen our little heydey of shushi, but we definitely need to see a lot more Asian cuisines, so I think the next thing should be noodles.  There are way too many kinds of noodles we haven't experienced yet here in the Capital Region and the kind of spaces in this business complex would be good. I'm beginning to look at pho myself, so of course I'd like to see that, but there are too many other kinds for me to leave it at just pho. After recently indulging at the new dumpling house in town I'm thinking dumplings as well.  There can never be too many good handmade dumplings.

It's  surprising that Lark Street doesn't have a good big deli.  I mean deli. I mean Jewish deli with blintzes and knishes and whitefish salad and matzah ball soup and huge cakes of halvah. Maybe some imported smoked meat. So along with the noodle shop I can see a big deli counter. The deli could also be where people start  the morning with coffee and breakfast bagels.

A brewery wouldn't be a bad thing. Lark Street could use one, in my not so humble opinion. Especially if it's combined with a deli. Beer and killer deli sandwiches is an unfilled niche.

And we could see more ideas from the Middle East like those offered by the Oasis Cafe, which needs a better home.

So perhaps what I'm proposing is that somehow a group of chefs and owners work it out and use the space to intermingle or to design it so that each cuisine has space.

What's your restaurant fantasy for Lark Street?

No comments: