Revisited: Cella Bistro – Schenectady, NY
Since my first trip to Cella Bistro, I have been eager to return for some tapas with my wife.
One Friday evening, we stopped in. There were a couple of more casual tables available out front, where tapas are served, and the entire main dining room was unoccupied.
We were both pretty hungry, so we ordered quite a few dishes, almost a comedic amount. Since it was tapas style, we asked that the dishes be brought as they were ready.
These are the dishes I tasted.
The first dish we tried was the tater tots. I don’t really know what I expected, but I was a bit disappointed that these were run-of-the-mill tots. They were fried quite well, and the smoked onion ranch dipping sauce was very tasty, but the creativity was a bit lacking here.
A feature of the menu is the ability to turn any of their cheeses into fondue served with bread. This was a fun little thing to nibble on. Decadent and rich as heck. Note to self: manchego is a bit too dry to melt into fondue; the texture became very grainy as it cooled.
The kale salad was my kind of salad! A huge amount of greens tossed with an absolutely perfectly balanced vinaigrette, some crunchy bread crumbs, and topped with a poached egg. The kale itself was a bit mature and tough; it could have benefited from a bit more agitation.
The BBQ ribs were outstanding. The texture of the meat was right on the verge of falling off the bone. The smoke penetrated each bite, and was perfectly applied. The BBQ sauce had a good amount of acidity to balance out the sweetness, and had very deep and complex flavor. This was the one dish I wished could never end.
The Texas “Taco” was the most playful of the dishes I ordered, and was probably the most flawed. The kielbasa had really good flavor, but the amount of smoke was overwhelming. Coupled with the fact that it was simply split, each bite had just way too much meat and smoke. The Red Dragon cheddar cheese was really a thing of beauty; it was sharp and also had strong mustard flavors. The Vidallia onion bits for crunch were great, but I would have preferred a corn tortilla over the flour tortilla provided. I feel like this dish may have been more enjoyable had the kielbasa been chopped.
On this visit, I walked out absolutely stuffed. To say the meal was worth it is an understatement. Items arrived promptly after ordering and with a decent amount of time between rounds. The service was also stellar.