Holy Crap. We’ve actually been married for a whole freaking year. So I know some folks go crazy for their wedding anniversaries (well, let’s be honest, it’s usually just the wives). In all honesty, we’re terrible with dates, and had we not had relatives and friends all remembering our wedding date and asking us how we were going to spend it, we probably would have just forgotten it and been fine doing something later. We’re just not that into that sentimental shit, and that’s how I like it.
The day before our anniversary I was feeling restless, so we drove out to Grafton Lakes State Park for a hike at one of their trails. Here’s Albany John looking at some grassland with a birdhouse in the background.
While we’re not flush with cash, I still saved up so we could go ‘all out’ on our anniversary in our own way. I don’t think everyone quite believed my response to “What are you two doing for your anniversary?” was “Eating. A lot.”. Or at least the degree of a lot-ness.
On another day we went to The Epicurean for lunch in Troy, NY. It is very far and technically Troy, NY, but is closer to Grafton Lakes State Park and Grafton, NY than Troy (at least that’s how it seems to me). This is our favorite restaurant, hands down. We don’t go out to eat all that often, and it’s usually just for something simple like an appetizer when we do (or to-go). The Epicurean is always an enjoyable experience for us, with amazing service and outstanding meals. It’s the only place I actually insist on spending the time to eat in and refuse to get a take out meal. This of course means we don’t go very often, maybe once or twice a year given our finances.
We didn’t have reservations and they were busy when we went in, but they still fit us in. They say you need reservations from 11 am – 2 pm on Sundays for brunch, but I don’t know about lunch. It’s kind of confusing, and the other time we went for brunch they weren’t busy and just sat people as they came in. But it seems like you should do reservations on Sunday just in case. It didn’t really matter to us. We would have waited until 2 pm if they were that full, but thankfully we didn’t have to. Hooray!
I ordered a café au lait to enjoy (dark roast) and was surprised with how delicious it was. The dark roast wasn’t bitter, just pleasantly heavy, and the foam was… so foamy and creamy, and it stayed that way the entire time I drank it. It didn’t just fall flat and blend into the drink. I barely needed sugar, which is saying a lot since my coffee-type drinks are normally 30% sugar. $2.25 and worth every penny.
The Epicurean has lunch specials in addition to their normal menu offering. Albany John ordered off of that menu and received a delicious veal stew ($12.99). There was a generous amount of veal in the stew, and the meat was so tender you could shred it with your tongue. The carrots and potatoes retained a nice firmness though, so the texture of the stew was also intriguing and exciting. This stew was very sweet, which went well with the veal.
One of our waitresses asked Albany John how he liked it, and explained that this was one of her favorite dishes that they make. She had asked the kitchen the day before about why it was so sweet, and they said it was from caramelizing onions and letting them cook down. We didn’t see any onions in the dish, so yum (!) – part of that creamy stew was comprised of onions cooked into caramelized oblivion.
I ordered off of the regular lunch menu – grilled basa entrée. $13.99. Perfectly seasoned. Perfectly. Perfectly grilled. Perfectly. This was a white fish (basa) fillet that was seasoned and grilled. Did I mention it was perfect? The fish was moist and tender, and was seasoned with some lemon (I think… something tart) and herbs to just enhance the flavor of the delicate fish. The fillet was long and thin, and just enough to satisfy me, portion-wise. I didn’t even need salt! The Epicurean is the only place I’ve ever eaten where I don’t even think of adding extra salt to my food. Everything is so well prepared, I feel like adding additional salt would screw up the dish.
Also included in the meal was a side. We ordered grilled vegetables as a side to our meals. The other option was a field green salad. Some greens came on my plate. Albany John took a bite of mushroom and opened his eyes wide as he said, “This is the best mushroom I have ever eaten. Try it.” And I had to agree with him. Charred and smoky, but still moist – it was a delicious mushroom. All of the veggies were delicious. I still don’t like bell peppers, but Albany John ate this red one with abandon.
We finished out meal off with a chocolate bread pudding. I’m still not a chocolate fan, but the chocolate sauce on here was inoffensive, and the bread was custardy-creamy. A delicious way to end a meal, and just enough dessert for us to split. We left pleasantly full, but not stuffed. I like that I don’t leave here with leftovers.
Our service was excellent, with two waitresses tending to us. Two! They were both very nice and accommodating. They also had a large party to deal with, a group of French-speaking folks who loved the food and were talking to one of the proprietors about the chef. My French is at least decent enough to decipher that they highly enjoyed the food and were enquiring about where the chef had gone to school, etc. Eventually chef Dominique Brialy came out to talk with them as well, discussing his education, etc. Then there was a flurry of French spoken, at which point I stopped being nosy, happy that at least my ever-dwindling French language comprehension is not completely lost.
Both Albany John and I feel like time both stops and flies when eating at The Epicurean. Food comes, you enjoy it, never rushed, and soon it is time to go after you are sated and happy. Our meal was a little under $37 after tax. More than we’d normally spend at lunch, but worth every penny at The Epicurean.