I am a huge fan of trying new types of cuisine. I have been meaning to try the new Blue Spice, located at 1614 Central Avenue in Albany, NY aka the old Garcia’s location, for a while, so I jumped at the opportunity to dine there.
Walking into the establishment, it was very different from the old Garcia’s, which I used to frequent often. Everything is now blue. And the hostess station is now gone, leaving a large empty space in the front of the place. We were immediately greeted by four hostesses in unison. They kindly directed us to our table and gave us our menus.
The menus were intense. There was a standard menu, a specials menu, and also a dessert menu. I personally didn’t see anything appealing on the specials menu, so I just tossed that aside and focused on the main menu. We wanted to order a couple of appetizers in addition to our main courses. We settled on Chicken Satay and Kanom Jeeb dumplings.
The satay was somewhat disappointing. The chicken had the texture and appearance that’s indicative of George Foreman grill cooking. The flavor of the chicken was decent; it seems like the chicken was marinated in a curry mixture. It was texturally rubbery. Also, the peanut dipping sauce was super disappointing. It was like every flavor note was present except for the signature Thai spice. Even Cassie who is not keen on spicy foods (even a little) agreed that the spice was missing.
The dumplings weren’t bad. They were the standard steamed shumai filled with pork. The crispy garlic was a strange textural counterpoint, but taken together this dish was decent.
My main course was the Blue Spice Duck, which was found under House Specials on the main menu. Even before I had any appetizers, I insisted that my main course be cooked with extra spice, which was a sage-like decision on my behalf.
This dish was fantastic. It is described as “Crispy boneless duck topped with spicy tamarind sauce and fresh basil, served with crispy eggplant and vegetable.” The vegetables were broccoli, carrots, and red peppers. The duck was nice and crispy as was the eggplant. Coupled with the vegetables, everything melded with the tamarind sauce nicely. The spice level was perfect for me, so I imagine that I would have been slightly disappointed with the spice level if I had not insisted on an extra spicy dish.
We shared a dessert because I was kind of full by the end of the meal. We shared the Sweathearts.
This consisted of a cold custard heart (left) coupled with a warm sweet, sticky rice heart (right). It was very small and not exactly worth $5. However, it was very tasty and capped off the meal nicely.
Overall, I’d say the portions were small given the prices they charge, but the quality is very good. I have no problem spending a little extra money for quality. The service was also very good. The staff was very friendly and accommodating.
I will be returning to Blue Spice very soon, but this time, I will avoid appetizers and desserts and make sure I always ask for my main course extra spicy.