Restaurant week in the area can usually give false negative impressions. The first time I went to Aperitivo Bistro in Schenectady, it was for a restaurant week that Mazzone Hospitality’s “One Reputation” brand puts on within their restaurants. I think the main point of these types of events is that an abbreviated and affordable experience gives some insight into the inner workings of the menu, and entices a customer to return for regular visits. My first experience wasn’t resoundingly positive, but I figured I’d give it a second shot and eat from the everyday menu.
We went for dinner on a Sunday evening and were one of a handful of tables that was there for dinner. It was drastically different from the packed house we encountered the first time.
One thing that I knew I was going to get was the Sweet Potato Steak Fries (brown sugar caramel, bacon aioli – $8).
They were just as amazing as the first time.
Cassie ordered the toasted pistachio & brie croquette (young arugula, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic cherry compote – $14), and I had a few bites.
This dish was like an upscale play on fried mozzarella with raspberry. It actually tasted very nice, but these croquettes weren’t exactly stuffed with brie, and most of it probably melted out during frying. I thought the cherry compote was very interesting, and it worked very nicely with the toasted pistachios and fried goodness. The lightly dressed arugula salad added some herby lightness.
I was pretty dead set on ordering pasta. The Pasta Bolognese (fresh pappardelle pasta, ground veal, pork, and beef, shaved pecorino, basil, and cracked black pepper – $25) sounded right up my alley. I love well executed fresh pasta, and the combination of ingredients sounded authentic and delicious.
I thought it was cute that they served it with a spoon. Well dressed pappardelle shouldn’t require a spoon, but the ever-so-slightly watery consistency that’s visible in the above image justified the need for it. The pasta was nicely cooked, and the sauce adhered to the pasta just right (like I said, it was maybe a touch too watery – an extra moment in the pan with the sauce may have helped the pasta soak it in a little more). The mixture of meats in the dish was perfect, and, as far as the flavor goes, it all came together nicely. The black pepper stood out too, and that was a major factor in my enjoyment of the dish. Overall, the sauce was a little salty, but the slight gaminess and creaminess of the pecorino really lifted the flavors. The pasta itself was very nicely seasoned.
They brought out a dish with grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper. The pasta didn’t need either.
I went home full, but $25 might be a touch high for the size portion served. However, I do understand that making fresh pasta takes time, and time is money
My second visit was certainly very enjoyable. At the very least, I now know that my first less-than-stellar “restaurant week” experience showed me that the sweet potato fries are can’t miss.