Wine-N-Diner – Albany, NY [Take 2]

You can read all about our first visit to this restaurant here. (My opinion is in the comments)

For some reason, we thought going back for brunch might be a more fortuitous experience. I’m going to preface this story by summarizing that this trip was one of the worst dining experience I’ve ever had. And of course, you know it went down in epic style. Here goes nothing:

Wine-N-Diner is located at 544 Delaware Avenue in Albany, NY. The ambiance is very new age artistic bordering on pretentious. The bathrooms do have some humorous murals on the wall that incorporate with the components in the room. We were pulled away from our table by the proprietor almost at gunpoint to see these murals.

Onto the food…

Brunch Menu

If I see that a breakfast establishment offers feta cheese as an omelet component, I automatically default to wanting an omelet with bacon and feta cheese. In this case, I ordered the “Potato, Bacon and Cheddar Omelet” and asked if I may substitute feta for the cheddar. Cassie ordered just the Potato, Bacon, and Cheddar Omelet with no substitution. Also, for the sake of the blog and because I am a fat kid, we decided to also order the Texas Toast. It was a lot of food, but I wanted to have some substance for this blog post (aside: I really did have high hopes!).

While we were waiting for our food, the proprietor came over to our table and stuck his greasy cell phone in our faces and said, “you gotta see this.” We’re straining to see what he’s trying to show us; it is an image with a bunch of bins. “Cupcake bar – here – every Sunday,” the young man tells us, as he flips to the next image which was a cupcake above the same bins, which contained toppings for the cupcakes. He explained it to us further, and we tried to share in his excitement, but it was tough because we were hungry!

Just so I can reasonably plead to maintain my sanity for now, here is a list of some of the omelet selections (as named on the menu above, click to enlarge):

  • Greek Omelet (Tomato, Feta, & Spinach)
  • Potato, Bacon, and Cheddar Omelet
  • Tomato, Bacon, and Cheese Omelet
  • Wild Western Omelet (Onions, Peppers, Hot Ham, Cheddar)

Unbeknownst to Cassie and me, if you order any of the above four omelets, you are guaranteed to have tomato inside as a special bonus. Don’t believe me? Here’s what my Potato, Bacon, and Cheddar Feta omelet looked like:

Potato, bacon, feta and a whole lot of tomato omelet

In both of our omelets, there were an obscene amount of finely chopped tomatoes. For me, I’m just picky against tomatoes. They never add anything to a dish, and make an omelet absolutely disgusting. Cassie, on the other hand, is allergic to tomatoes. Had she known they were going to be cute and add tomato to the omelet, she would not have ordered it. If you intend on putting tomato into every omelet choice, you need to indicate this on the menu. I know I’m not crazy because there are multiple items that specify tomatoes as a special item in select omelets.

When the server came back, Cassie nicely explained that she has a tomato allergy. The server grabbed the plate and said, “do you want him to make something else?” Cassie responded no, planning to eat the Texas Toast. That was the most of an admission of a mistake as we got, no apology. Had we not had the foresight to order extra food, Cassie would have sat there while they re-prepared her meal. This scenario makes me a little nervous.

Texas Toast - mediocre at best

The proprietor, who was quick to promote his business earlier in the experience, did absolutely nothing to fix his kitchen’s problem. As a matter of fact, the proprietor didn’t even look in our direction or wish us a nice day on our way out. Luckily they had taken the item Cassie sent back off of the bill. We paid, left, and are never going back.

You can find Wine-N-Diner at http://wine-n-diner.com/, but why you’d want to is beyond me. If you go, don’t say I didn’t warn you.


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31 thoughts on “Wine-N-Diner – Albany, NY [Take 2]

  • Cute~Ella

    Good to know, I was thinking of taking Frank there next weekend. Now, I won’t!


  • Roz Tofinchio

    I’m no chef. I’m just an old woman who likes to cook for people at home. When a friend says, “I just want scrambled eggs,” or “I want a provolone omelet,” that is exactly what they get. No more, no less. I happen to love tomatoes, but not in an omelet! Yuck!

    I like your restaurant reviews. I know what to REALLY expect when going to a restaurant reviewed by derryX!


  • Bill

    I love tomatoes, even in omelets (provided they do it right and discard the soupy center), but I agree if it’s going into the food, it needs to be on the menu. I am not a fan of non-descriptive menus at all.


    • derryX

      Yea, i mean the biggest problem I had was that they were cute about adding tomatoes when it wasn’t part of the description and didn’t do much to “own up” when Cassie’s allergy was brought up.

      Especially since that owner was in our face about promoting his place.


  • Bill

    Also, the pictures are enough to tell me to avoid that place. I can – and do – prepare much better food at home.


  • -S

    Oh come on, can you use an even more powerful flash on that poor omelet? That is a bit disingenuous, *no* food (or people) would look any good that way.

    I’ve been then numerous times, including last Sunday for the cupcake bar (yum). I had a great experience each time, be it with the Hawaiian burger, the Turducken Trifecta, the Wild West Omelet, the Mac&Cheese, to name a few. And don’t get me started on the fried Twinkie or the Double-Stacked Smores. The owner was friendly each time (and even replaced the whipped cream that fell off my smores because I was taking my sweet time taking a picture).

    You might be projecting your bad experience on the ambiance too. I don’t think I’ve seen a more simple decoration, especially compared to New World Bistro next door. Just a few booths, benches, chairs, a couple paintings on the wall that change every 6 weeks or so, there is nothing that overly distracts from the food experience. It’s just a diner.

    I, of course, agree that tomatoes should be mentioned.


    • derryX

      I’m defending my choice to use the version of the omelet with flash, because the no flash version looked like something nobody would eat. haha [without the tomatoes, it would have been a pretty good omelet…]

      The owner was very (overly) friendly with us pre-meal, and that is a major point that I tried to make. He was so aggressive with us and made us feel at ease there (after not having a great experience there the first time, mind you), that his lack of response when informed that Cassie had an allergy to a component that they elected to add to her food was really magnified.

      I’m all about simple ambiance. One of my favorite places to eat is Bob’s Diner in Watervliet. I don’t know if you’ve been there, but it’s probably the 1960’s equivalent of this place. We did have a chuckle or two over a couple of the paintings.


      • -S

        Food photography is tricky. The PowerShot SD900 is a nice little camera and I think it can do good things with natural light (I had its predecessor). If I may suggest, try to power down the flash, sometimes a napkin right in front of the bulb can diffuse it more.


        • derryX

          Thanks for the tip. One thing I am not is a photographer, but when i compared my no-flash to flash photo of the omelet, the flash version clearly showed how much tomato was there. I can definitely see what you mean regarding the amount of flash, though. I also lack photo editing skills.


  • kert

    That’s a bummer, I only went there once and I was split – the Mac and Cheese was bland and just so/so, but the chicken and waffle was really good. I was looking to go back when I heard about the cupcake bar, so will avoid the omlets.


    • derryX

      Yeah I mean we had high enough hopes to give it a second chance. The omelet was fine for what it was aside from the fact that they include tomatoes without telling you. (I don’t like tomatoes, and my girlfriend is allergic).


  • Roz Tofinchio

    I predict that patrons at the Wine-N-Diner will be ordering otherwise tomato-free egg dishes such as scrambled eggs, eggs over easy, and Eggs Benedict, specifically saying, “NO tomatoes, do you hear me? NO TOMATOES!”


  • Summer

    I have never had a bad experience there…I absolutely love it. I’m sorry you didn’t feel the same way.


  • Foodinista

    I have patronized this establishment several times in the past few months. I find the restaurant to be a mixed bag; the first two or three times, I had a very pleasant experience there (having omlettes, sans tomatos) and lots of strong hot coffee. The omlettes were made as requested and with fresh ingredients. My initial impression is they could charge more for this food and I’d still come back. The bread sided with the omlettes is hearty and plentiful. On the other hand, service has been spotty, getting moreso in recent visits. The last time I was there, I was concerned that the wait people had not done an adequate job cleaning the table/booth; the table wasn’t cleaned at the far end and the bench seat was crumby . . . admittedly, not too appetizing! But as I was there solo, I avoided the far end of the table and cleaned off the bench with a napkin (they did provide another napkin . . .) At this point, I’m a less likely patron for this restaurant. It’s too bad because the owner has some interesting ideas and unusual dishes. But at the same time, I don’t really get the concept he’s going for; the wood tables/slat benches do not connote “diner” to me, and it certainly does not communicate an upscale ambiance. Yet, he’s got a wine&beer liquor license. . . Also, it seems he’s got a lot to be learned about running a restaurant (his resume notwithstanding). As with the reviewer, Derry X, I really want(ed) to like this place. . . As I write, I realize I’ll have to write them off. Sorry, Wine’n’Diner and owner Dimetrius.


    • derryX

      So wait, you’re telling me that there were no tomatoes in your omelet?

      The first time I went, I noticed the bench was sticky but I didn’t want to make a big deal. Details like that are easily fixable and shouldn’t factor into a dining assessment unless it’s really out of hand.


      • -S

        Oh the bench *was* sticky, that was my major problem (to the point that the gf didn’t want to go back). This has been fixed somehow the last two times I was there. Maybe the material was new, I don’t know, I can’t imagine they wouldn’t clean them (they didn’t look dirty, just… sticky).


  • -S

    If you start approving that much spam, it’s going to take you forever 🙂


  • Roz Tofinchio

    It’s funny how you are getting spam from insurance companies. It reminds me of the end of the movie “Love and Death.” Woody Allen’s character says that death is like spending an evening with an insurance salesman, only worse.

    If the spam gets out of hand, you can always go back to CAPTCHAS. It’s not like yours were hard to see.


  • KicknKnit

    Good gravy I wish I had read this well before we went for lunch today. Nothing like watching the owner eat ice cream behind the bar.. right out of the carton.. Ben and Jerry’s even. Ew. Also, our food was good but the wait staff was disgustingly rude. Three waitresses – 8 tables and we still had to bring our check up to the bar to get someone to take our money. I guess we aren’t “cool” enough or “funky fresh” enough to warrant any real attention. I noticed that the table of “hipsters” got lots of attention though.


  • KicknKnit

    Forgot to add, the Hawaiian Burger said it had avocado and cheddar.. but it really had coconut.. which, honestly tasted better.. but not what I thought I was getting.


    • derryX

      Re: Ben + jerrys – that’s class…Re: coconut – I hate that it has to be a mystery at some places. Just tell me what I’m in for.



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