New World Bistro Bar – Albany, NY

Tagline: The New World Order invades the New World Bistro Bar.

Everybody has heard about Ric Orlando, area chef and consultant at New World Bistro Bar in Albany, NY, competed on Food Network’s program Chopped, and even got called up to compete in the Chopped Championship.

Between that tidbit of information and the fact that the name is so close to “New World Order,” it was imperative that I try this place. Couple that with a special event to celebrate, and I was ready to go all out.

Let’s get to it!

New World Bistro Bar (located at 300 Delaware Avenue in Albany, NY) has a unique menu that works on a heat rating system. Basically, if you see a number next to a star, that means the level of spice from 2 to 10; as the waitress explained, 2 is mild and 9-10 is like your habaneros or scotch bonnetts. They also have an extensive bar, focused mainly around wines, but also offering a few microbrews and spirits.

I am not going to lie, whenever I see “Bistro” in the name of a place, I usually stray away from that place. In my opinion, you really do anything more pretentious than include “Bistro” in your restaurant name. Up until this visit, I’ve also never had a completely stellar experience at a “Bistro.”

I opened the menu and really didn’t know what to do. I was dining with Cassie, who does not like spicy food, so I was on the fence about what to do about an appetizer. I ultimately decided to order my own appetizer when I discovered the tie dye pie on the pizza menu. It was described as “Purple haze sauce and 4 cheezes – gooey pain. 9*” I had to order that.

Tie Dye Pie

Man was that hot! The crust was not what I expected. It was less of a pizza and more like a cracker, which is consistent with no yeast being in the dough. The sauce was a very sweet and tangy fireball. I would definitely get this again.

For my entree, my eye immediately focused on the New World Jerk Chicken. I was amazed that I had the choice between half of a chicken or chicken breasts. As described on the menu, the dish consisted of “Free Bird Half Bird (the chef’s choice) or Boneless Breasts marinated, grilled, and finished in the oven, plated with coconut peas and rice, Island yams, greens, and plantains. 4* 7* or 10*.”

This is where a miscommunication must have happened. When I read “coconut peas,” I honestly expected green peas (which I normally dislike) with coconut (which I adore). Also, I expected to be served plantains. Didn’t happen, unless it was mashed into the Island yams. Here’s what my dish looked like:

New World Jerk Chicken

And that’s after I picked off the greens (which I absolutely detest) that I requested not be plated on my dish. As you can see, there was no sign of plantains. There were two hearty chicken breasts covered in jerk seasoning, a pile of rice with kidney beans, and a mound of mashed sweet potatoes.

The chicken was absolutely phenomenal. I ordered 7* and I was coming off the endorphins from the pizza, but the heat level was perfect, and all of the jerk seasonings stood out. The rice was absolutely horrendous. After I removed the layer that was in contact with the minerally greens, I tried the rice and was confused by the texture. It felt like overcooked rice mixed with uncooked rice. There was definitely a coconut flavoring to the rice and many Caribbean islands refer to kidney beans as peas, so I’ll take ownership for that miscommunication. The mashed yams were underwhelming and really didn’t do anything to accent the dish. I’m telling you, some nice fried plantains (notoriously absent from my dish) would have been the perfect accompaniment.

Because I enjoyed my chicken so much, I forgave the rest of that entree travesty for the time being and decided to order dessert. I ordered the Nutella and Marscapone Mousse.

Nutella and Marscapone Mousse

That was pretty amazing. The nice crunchy hazelnuts on top of the mousse was a great counterpoint for the soft, airy mousse.

Despite my strong displeasure for the overall entree experience, I would certainly go back. I would probably try a burger or something next time and not deal with the overly pretentious items, but I’d go back and take over.

Ohh, and I’m still right about having “Bistro” in the name of a restaurant.

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12 thoughts on “New World Bistro Bar – Albany, NY

  • KicknKnit

    You know, we almost went there instead of the dread wine-n-diner. Sounds like we missed out on some good stuff (btw: try the tostones as Salsa Latina.. them are some awesome plantains)

    • derryX

      You also spent about 1/5 of what you would have at nWbb. I really wanted to have a raving review of the place, but too many things about that main course turned me off.

      The only thing I miss from my ex-marriage to a Puerto Rican girl was her mom’s cooking. She used to make the best fried plantains ever. Of course, I saw fit to jump off the sinking ship when the quality of the mother in law’s cooking dropped off to shit and the actually ex-wife couldn’t cook for shit. So there are many positives out of this situation.

      In all seriousness, I will have to try them at Salsa Latina. I have only eaten there once, but have been wanting to go back. Hmm…maybe that’s a good location for a future derryX Dines…stay tuned!!!

  • llcwine

    so, what did Cassie have?

    • derryX

      I don’t remember. I will try to get her to leave a comment.

    • Cassie

      Appetizer: Asiago Crusted Diver Scallops and Fresh Figs with arugula, mint and vin cotto
      Entree: Hemp Nut Crusted Salmon with Wild Hive Hudson Valley corn pudding, braised autumn greens, local apple chutney and chipotle-mustard sauce
      Dessert: NWBB Ice Cream Sandwich of the day – Chocolate chunk & cherry cookie with butter pecan ice cream (Or something along those lines…)
      Drink: Their sangria special. (It was pretty bad)

      I’ve been to NWBB a ton of times but, have not gone within the last 7-8 months. My food was good but not spectacular. I’ve had much better meals there but, again, that was nearly a year ago.

      A few things I remember:
      The scallops were nicely seasoned and cooked and paired great with the fig. However, the mint was a little overpowering.
      They asked me how I wanted my salmon cooked. In all my life and out of the hundreds of restaurants I’ve eaten at, I’ve never been asked how I wanted my salmon cooked. I was tempted to say “the correct way” but, told them I like it to be pink. It came out almost perfect. The ends were a little over cooked but, the middle was perfect. The corn pudding was strange. Part of it was tasty and part of it tasted like plastic. I should have read the whole description because, I somehow missed the chipotle part and I am ridiculous about “spicy” food. DerryX tried it and thought it wasn’t spicy at all. I tried it and my felt like my tongue was burning. The chutney was delicious. It had something besides apples in it, which I can’t remember but, yum.
      Dessert was an ice cream sandwich…you can’t go wrong.

      A side note about the service…we had a pretty terrible waitress in my opinion. She was just going through the motions and wasn’t very attentive. The busser was way more attentive than she was. We had to request bread (a standard at NWBB) and she always seemed disinterested in actually working. I’ve had much better service there.

      In the end, I hope we go back. I really like NWBB and thing they could do better. I’ll chalk it up to a little bit of an off night.

      • derryX

        For the record, after that Tie Dye Pie, I wouldnt trust any heat assessment from me. I’m sure since there was chipotle, it probably had some heat to it.

        The other stuff in the chutney was apricots and raisins, or so we postulated.

  • -S

    I love the mousse there. I honestly have rarely been disappointed by any item (OK, except the sweet bread, that was treacherous).

    I like that you are not “flashing” the photos! If I may give a small suggestion, try to fix the white balance. There is a color cast in all shots, a common problem when shooting under artificial light (i.e. the the white plates are not “white”). This can be taken care of easily by using Auto-Colors in PS, or the White Balance picking tool, etc. This will make a nice difference.

    • derryX

      Yeah, most of the time, people see “sweet bread” and they think it’s going to be something good. It turns out (everytime) that it’s cooked glands which are never particularly great.

      Thanks for the photo tips. I’m working on getting decent quality pictures for these reviews, so your tips are greatly appreciated!

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