Albany has a lot of really cool diners - 50s throwback decor, some still with juke boxes and girls in uniforms, licenses, open all the time - very iconic NY if you ask me - and believe me, I'm a native Yew Norker AND Greek AND a superhero keeping very weird hours and sometimes you just NEED A BEER and some fried things late at night, or breakfast at 3:00 p.m. I've done my time in these places. I ate at most of them doing my rounds when I first moved to the Capital Region in 2001 and then promptly forgot about them. One can only do so many meals of white rolls wrapped in plastic and iceberg lettuce salads and canned soup.
But much has changed in the restaurant biz these past almost 15 years and I wondered if our expectations of good food, served quickly, reasonably priced, in a comfortable environment, is holding true in our area diners. Does anyone go beyond the basics to be amazing destination spots in their own right? And, most importantly, what about their souvlaki??? The quest begins. This is the first in a series of specifically Greek diners in the Capital Region. Parakalo.
Capital City Diner
This is a real diner - one of those Greek family run shiny chrome and vinyl studded affairs with a menu that's a mile long, daily specials, and desserts a mile high. Kind of a home away from home for alot of folks. The space is clean, the staff are friendly, and the food is pretty good. CC offers daily specials, several soup du jours of the day, breakfast/lunch/dinner, and even has fountain drinks.
Four of us went for lunch and there were no real failures, although I thought the meat loaf tasted weird, like onion soup mix, and the gravy was weird like that too, and kind of salty, but Pony liked her lunch and saved half for a meal the next day (Meat Loaf Dinner served with mashed and mixed veggies, soup or salad for $11.99). The large Buffalo Chicken Salad with a choice of dressings (Foodie Friend chose blue cheese; $8.59) held no surprises but was fresh and crispy with a nice variety of veggies. Red went for the Blue Cheese Burger ($6.59); it came with a side of slaw that was soggy and warm, and a pickle, but the crusty roll and just the right amount of blue cheese topping a perfectly cooked medium-well patty was really quite delicious.
|The Meat Loaf Dinner at Capital City Diner can feed two hungry superheroes|
|The Buffalo Chicken Salad was a hearty serving - predictable but good.|
|The Blue Cheese Burger looks very plain but was actually delicious.|
Ahhh, chicken souvlaki. The one at CC had a generous serving of tender marinated chicken, lots of onions and tomatoes, and nice thick tzatziki on the side all wrapped up in a soft warm pita ($7.29). Fries or a side salad are an extra $3 or you can have both for another $4. Good value, fresh, not processed or heavily salted/seasoned - this chicken souvlaki (which I've had many times before) has been my gold standard to date, but I'm wondering what else I will find. This one is hard to beat.
|I asked for an extra container of their tzatziki which they were happy to provide at no extra charge. I ate them both.|
Zena, Goddess of Fire
PS: Here's our list so far:
Route 7 Diner
Pearl Street Diner