Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Smoldering at Jacob and Anthony's

The heat is on - one more Italian restaurant in the Capital Region is either a predictable win or will quietly fizzle against the competition.
Main entrance is from the parking lot at Stuyvesant Plaza

The latest is Jacob and Anthony's Italian, located in Stuyvesant Plaza at the corner of Fuller and Western in Guilderland.  Added to the growing list of Marrello Management's establishments, J&A Italian is on track to build on their successes elsewhere (Bellini's, J&A American Grille in Saratoga).
Trippy lighting...

The newly renovated space is lovely and even makes ME look good - dark, with spotlights shining down, but the glare was a bit much and made taking photos of friends and food a bit difficult. There's a few changes since Creo vacated the space last year. Now there's an expanded bar area full of high tops barely separated from a smaller dining area, and the view of the kitchen and its blazing wood-fired ovens has been blocked off (kissie noises to the ovens - I will have to love you from afar). A Bellini's Counter is located at the right of the main entrance (wraps, pasta, salads) and connected to the restaurant inside. It, too, is sure to do good business in this upscale mall full of University folks and office types and rich people, but I felt that the proximity to J&A was a bit less than classy.
Take away is a contrast to the classier restaurant next door
The menu covers both lunch and dinner, with choices that can appeal to kids (pizza, meatball subs) and luminaries alike (veal marsala). Service on a busy Thursday night only a month or so after opening started with glasses of Pinot Grigio (Villa Pozzi/$8, and Chloe/$10) - simple wines, clean and light. Our very wonderful server brought us warm Italian bread with basil pesto oil to go with it, and this was a good thing because the loaf was lackluster. The dip was, in contrast, sunshine in a bowl.
The bread was dead...
Jaguar and I both enjoyed a Market Salad ($7), with their house balsamic vinaigrette on the side. Mixed greens, super fresh, with cuke and cherry tomatoes, a few shavings of parm on top. The house made dressing was bright, not too sweet, just like me. Fantastic!
Great salads!!!  
The daily lasagna special ($17) was a classic, with beef and veal, served in its own crock and loaded with melty, stringy mozzarella. The noodles were perfect, the meat mixture was tasty, but the red sauce definitely needs some kindling - herbs and garlic? It tasted like a basic universal that could be used in anything. I guess we both expected with a daily lasagna special offered at "MP" that this would be the best way to see what the kitchen can do, but we were disappointed.
Lovely lasagna needs herbs and garlic....
I had the Chicken Parm ($19) - did that surprise you???  Two nicely prepared cutlets, tender, with a great crust, lightly breaded, not too much sauce or salt - delicious - don't change a thing! The side of capellini, on the other hand, was topped with some kind of cream sauce, and it got gluey as it sat - kind of weird, but better on the reheat the next day.
Surprise!!!  I had the Chicken Parm - delicious!
Jacob and Anthony's Italian is a bit noisy and totally socially delightful - the location is a charmer for bringing in that hipster crowd. The food we had was good, but it's still smoldering. I know there's potential so I hope they continue to push their customers for honest input, which I didn't give them onsite, and for that I apologize, because you were all so nice. Thanks for the excellent service and attention during our first visit!!!

Zena, Goddess of Fire

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