Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Here's Johnny!!! The Time Warp That Is/Was Smith's of Cohoes

I'm NOT kidding. When you walk through that narrow front door into Smith's of Cohoes and see that loooooooooooong bar on your right, a few regulars sipping beers watching you as you drift inside, it really IS Jack Nicholson behind the bar wiping down a glass. Very creepy.

I felt like I was on the stage set of a 1935 Hollywood classic. I think I took pictures but there's nothing on my camera. Man zombies I can handle but not ghosts - worse than spiders, really.
The exterior is cute - parking lots next door and across the street
Red leather, dark wood, huge mirror behind the bottles, original tiled floors, tin ceiling. A couple of urns look like they could hold many many ashes. So I put up my force field, double tied my sneakers, and calmly walked through the lounge area to the dining room in the back where I was finally greeted by one of the servers. Two large spaces dressed with simple table linens, dim, Frankie musak, no stand out styling. It was an older crowd mostly, couples, low key, and easy. 

I could not resist the bread and chive butter

We had to ask for a wine list, but with the first glass I was ready to let my guard down. Hess Shirtail Creek Chardonnay, un-oaked ($7) - buttery, smooth, a bit sweet. Salads came with our entrees - happily surprised to find out that all the dressings are homemade, but their house champagne dressing was really sweet, thickened with something, not that tasty really, but the veg was fresh and the serving was a nice starter size. Bread, served with a chive butter, was hard to resist, so I didn't - crispy outside and a nice light chew inside - delicious. Vintage fare.
Homemade dressings but this one was a bit sweet

Red took down an entire plate of Chicken Piccata ($17) - super tender chicken, loads of perfectly cooked linguine, lemony almost to the point of tart, capers heaped on top - perfectly delicious. I liked that the sauce wasn't too thick, just natural and shining. Did I just say "shining"????
The pasta dish was a winner

For a change I ordered the Twin Sirloins ($19), expecting to see those little twin girls hovering by the kitchen doorway. I didn't. Instead, I was served two 3-ounce "medallions": these were not medium rare, more like medium well, a bit mealy, not really juicy but tender. The caramelized onions and chipotle hollandaise squiqqles on top were lost to me, lookin' fancy but not that tasty, so next time if I order a steak I'll skip the toppings. The green beans were simple, squeaky and fresh, and the mashed were actually so good I had to wrestle with myself to put the fork down, almost like there was a force saying "eat more, sweetie, eat more.............."
Twin Sirloins

But in the end there were no surprises, hearty fare, a goodly amount of variety on the menu, genuinely kind, attentive service. HOWEVER, I understand things are changing: there are promises of a new menu sometime in the next few weeks. The clientele now are loyal to their old favorites, as you might have guessed, so it will be interesting to see how Smith's balances that with choices that are not so traditional Italian-American. Then I will definitely be back, since I'm sure it will then be MUCH less likely that I get sucked into one of those old photos with Johnny.

Zena, Goddess of Fire

P,S, AND NO I'm not "afraid" of ghosts!!! Just wary, that's all...........

1 comment:

Burnt My Fingers said...

Hah! Great and funny review.