The Brown Derby – Albany, NY
Ever since I heard there was a Brown Derby restaurant in Albany, NY, it has sparked an undying debate in me. This debate is over the true origin of the Cobb Salad. As explored in this recent blog post, the actual origin of the Cobb salad has become somewhat of a mystery, and most people attribute it to owner of the original Brown Derby Restaurant in West Hollywood, Bob Cobb.
I have been dying to dine at the Brown Derby restaurant in Albany, if, for nothing else, to probe the staff as to whether they (meaning the Brown Derby) take credit for the origin of this salad. Much to my chagrin, there is no Cobb Salad on the menu. But I had Cassie make us a reservation, and I wanted to eat there anyway.
If you can imagine this, The Brown Derby is located in downtown Albany on the good side of Clinton Ave (across from The Palace Theater). The best option for parking on most nights is to use the valet (it was only $5 on the night we dined there). When you enter the restaurant, you are greeted by a very obviously European bald man. He is very hospitable and promptly seated us.
There is an average amount of entrees on the menu, and the appetizer selection is relatively scant as well. Under salads, they had a Derby Wedge salad, which had Iceburg lettuce, Local Tomatoes, Bermuda Onions, Crispy Bacon Lardons, and Maytag Blue Cheese dressing. This was the closest thing I saw to a Cobb Salad. So when the waitress approached the table and took our order, before ordering the Derby Wedge, I asked, “no Cobb Salad?” The waitress entertained the question and said they used to have it but took it off due to lack of popularity. That was the closest to confirmation that I’m going to get that the Cobb Salad originated at the Brown Derby in Hollywood. Anyway, I ordered the Derby Wedge.
I thought it was great. The simplicity of a salad of just iceberg lettuce, tomato, bacon, onion, and blue cheese was perfect. I liked being able to distribute the ingredients per bite. That alone made this fun. Also, the blue cheese was not overpowering. I loved this dish. (You also can’t go wrong for $8 bucks).
Dinner was a different story. I wanted to be simple, so I ordered Chicken Parmigiana. I figured that if it made it’s way onto the upscale restaurant’s menu, it would be something special, or at least just about what you get anywhere else.
Things took a slight turn.
I will revisit this point, but I cannot stand cauliflower. I will say no more here and save it for a later post.
What could this possibly have to do with my chicken parmigiana, you ask? Well, my chicken parmigiana was served with a huge hunk of broccoli and a huge hunk of cauliflower. Don’t believe me…
I immediately flicked it off the plate before it came into contact with the chicken. I couldn’t bring myself to try the pasta since the cauliflower was in contact with the pasta, but the chicken was fine. Ohh yeah, cauliflower and broccoli had nothing to do with the description on the menu.
That’s all I’m saying about this place. Thumbs down. If I ever go back, I’m definitely ordering everything with no cauliflower.