Thursday, August 14, 2008

Athos in Guilderland

About a week ago my wife and I had dinner at the new Greek place in Guilderland, Athos. We enjoyed it. It's in the same spot which used to be Cabernet Cafe and before that Figliomeni's.

We started with the Horiatiki Salad, which looks, on the menu, like a typical greek salad. There were no olives though, and the feta that came with it was in two large slices. Usually a greek salad has olives and the feta is crumbled. The menu does say olives, so that was probably a mistake (the place just opened). Serving the feta in the larger pieces was fine, but this dish was not their best and did not live up to our expectations.

We also had an appetizer where you pick three different "spreads" or dips to go with some pita bread. We had the tzatziki (yogurt based), the melitsanosalata (eggplant based) and the fava puree (fava beans of course). These were all quite good. I was a little surprised that hummus was not one of the options, but that's not a big deal.

One quick comment about both of these -- the appetizer and the salad were $12 each. That seemed a little overpriced. With the salad, it just wasn't that great of a salad. The dips were very good quality, but we didn't get that much of them. With that said, the entrees were not overpriced.

Speaking of entrees, my wife had the chicken (kotopoulo) souvlaki. She liked it. I remember that the chicken had a great flavor, and as I write this she mentions that the rice it came with was also delicious. She didn't finish and I brought the chicken home. It was still great the next day. With that quality at only $18, it made the whole meal a bargain.

I had the "Ionian Marinato" - shrimp and scallops marinated in citrus, then sauteed with olives, capers and peppers. As time has passed I don't remember all the details of it, but it was good.

We had dessert too. My wife had Baklava and I got the "Galakobouriko" - custard in phyllo dough. We liked the baklava. The custard thing was fine, but not our thing. The menu lists a "Loukoumathes" (fried dough) but they didn't have any that night - some kind of problem with the dough - maybe it didn't rise. I liked that one of the desserts is a fruit platter. More places should do that (and I should have ordered it).

On the whole, it was very good. The restaurant atmosphere was nice too. The whole meal costs us $80, but that includes an appetizer, a salad and two desserts. Next time we'll probably skip the salad and get one dessert.

We enjoyed it and wish Athos well.

Map of 1814 Western Avenue in Albany.

Arirang: Noi's in Colonie has changed

Update (4/14/2010): We went to Arirang today and it was closed. From the circumstances, I suspect it may not reopen.
Update: Arirang is the name of this new restaurant. We've been back a few times and the Korean food is good too. With good quality, reasonable prices, and a great location (for us), we expect to go a couple times a month for lunch.
I wrote in the past about a restaurant that was named Mino's and then Noi's in Colonie. Well it's changed again.

I went with my daughter tonight on the way back from her Tae Kwon Do class. That led to a minor coincidence. We sat down and one guy working in the restaurant (I don't know the new name yet ... the Noi's sign is still up) looked familiar. A while later he introduced himself. He's Steve Kim, the owner of Kim's Oriental Shop, just down the road. That was a pleasant surprise, and it was also neat because I got to show off that my daughter can count to 10 in Korean. I've been an occasional customer at the store for several years.

Anyway, the food seemed similar to what they had in the past. They have some Thai dishes and Japanese dishes. We had a variety:

Edamame appetizer (soybeans served in the husk - you pop the beans out and eat them - the kids love 'em). This is something you find in Japanese restaurants and it was good. I think they served a larger quantity than most other places.

I had a Tom Kha soup with chicken (also called Tom Kha Gai in Thai restaurants). That was also good, maybe the best I've had in this area.

Daughter also had a miso soup. She liked it. I didn't get to taste it until it was cold.

Side salad was nothing special. Small plate with iceberg lettuce, served with a peanut sauce dressing (ginger dressing also available). Not bad, but no big deal either.

The entrees were excellent. Cashew Nut Chicken (I asked for non-spicy for my daughter - then she didn't eat any of it), and I had Macadamia Nut Beef. Both were very good, cooked with peppers, onion, the relevant nuts, and pineapple. The sauce for the beef had a particularly rich flavor.

They will be adding Korean food to the menu, probably next week. There was a large table of Asian men (I'm pretty sure they were Korean) and it looked like they got Korean food. I saw that they had Kim Chi (a pickled cabbage) and some yellow Daikon (a sweet pickled Asian radish) and got some of that.

Looking forward to going back when they add Korean food. There is only one other Korean place in the area that I know of (Ta-Ke near Albany Memorial Hospital).

Anyway, the place is at 1558 Central Avenue in Colonie.