Central Steak – Albany, NY (A Birthday Special!)
I usually draw a blank when looking for someplace to eat when my parents come to visit. Being that they were visiting for my birthday, I had a little more of a say in where we would go than usual. My father would never say no to a steakhouse, so I figured Central Steak was a formidable option considering the area in which we wanted to be.
Central Steak is located at 1632A Central Avenue, west of Wolf Road in the building that used to be The Butcher Block. We were seated promptly on a Sunday afternoon in a large room with large windows allowing for a pleasantly bright environment.
The dinner menu is rather straightforward. My father made the comment, “they don’t have much of a menu” in reference to the fact that it was one page, front and back with 5-10 selections in four categories including small plates. It is clear by the selection that they don’t “muck about,” as Jaime Oliver would say, and that they take the few things they cook very seriously.
I had my mind set on Danish ribs with jicama slaw and sweet potato steak fries, but then the waiter came over and described the specials. One special was a burger topped with fried macaroni and cheese, cheddar cheese, onion rings, bacon, and special Central Steak sauce. You throw a side of sweet potato steak fries, and I was sold…
…but not before we enjoyed some beef short rib sliders. The slowly cooked beef was succulent, sweet, and had a hint of spice. It was served on potato rolls with a dollop of boursin cheese. They were lightly grilled and served warm.
The young man brought us some salad. There were two different dressings served with the salad: balsamic vinaigrette and blue cheese, the latter of which was mild, and perfectly creamy. The bowl of veggies served was an interesting mix of greens, including spinach, arugula, and Swiss Chard (which is delicious!), cabbage, red peppers, cucumbers, carrots, and grape tomatoes. Everything about this salad was very good.
While we were waiting for our entrees, in the corner of our eyes, the hostesses were playing some weird fashion show and tell. Their outfits ranged from casual to formal, and the one girl wearing a cocktail dress and platform toe stilettos put a strange Abercrombie sweater over her nice outfit…yeah…
My burger came out. It was pretty ridiculous! Macaroni and cheese was formed into a patty as big as the burger that was deep fried with a crispy course breadcrumb shell. The cheddar cheese, used in the mac and cheese and on the burger, was nice and sharp. The bacon was pretty good, and the onion rings were nice and crispy. The special Central Steak sauce was the sweet counterpoint that was necessary with the sharp cheese and salty bacon; sadly enough there was not enough on the burger, but that was a blessing, as it allowed me to focus on tasting the meat in its unadulterated entirety, and, although I craved more of the sauce, I enjoyed the whole burger as well as the sweet potato steak fries, which were decent albeit slightly under-fried.
Of course, this was a fork and knife job, since it came to the table with a steak knife stabbed through it. I also got to pose with the burger a little…
Ohh and did I mention that my parents were there?
(See what I mean about the brightness?)
Being that it was my birthday, and my dad, naturally, announced it the second we stepped into the restaurant, the server, who was nothing but kind and accommodating the whole time, went well above and beyond his obligations as a server and brought desserts for the table on the house. And, furthermore, he didn’t bring a marching band of crazy servers singing a dumb “happy birthday” song ; it was very low key and special. And there was a candle.
The one dessert pictured above was a chocolate bomb cake, smothered in chocolate ganache and filled with chocolate cake and mousse. The other dessert, not pictured, was a toll house pie (one of my favorite desserts in the universe) with oreo crumb crust. Both were served with ice cream and were devoured by the four of us (Cassie was there but opted to not be photographed) in beyond record time .
Before the desserts came out, I had looked over to Cassie and mentioned my love for everything I had eaten; I intend on making this a regular stop on the derryX train, as they do great work.
The dessert put the whole experience over the top and made a special day even more special.
I want to thank everyone involved in the day, especially my parents and Cassie, and would also like to add a special “Thank you” to Central Steak and our server for doing such a great job.
I will be back!