I miss the Lark Tavern.

Cheap drinks, stellar bar food, and service was always quick and friendly no matter how crowded it was. Once you’ve got Your Place it’s hard to find another one. I know Tess & crew have moved downtown to Pearl Street, but it’s such a different location, and still not quite the Lark Tavern I knew and loved.

Met up with my college pal and his fiance. We figured we’d do drinks, but also some food. Somewhere in Albany. Not Pearl Street. Not Mahar’s. Not in a wine mood, or a beer mood. Cheap would be nice, too. That’s a pretty difficult list to fulfill, as it would turn out. We wound up at Junior’s (1094 Madison Ave, Albany, NY 12208). Same strip as Mahar’s.

Drinks came out in tall glasses or cocktail glasses. $7 for call, $6 for well drinks. Not too shabby, but I would have preferred a smaller drink (bravely, I soldiered on with my bigger drink, though).

Service was great – our waitress was really friendly and nice. More like someone taking care of guests in her home than a waitress at a bar/restaurant in Albany.

I flipped my shit when I saw ‘waffle fries’ on the menu. I got the House Burger ($9.99) which had pickles, onions, swiss, bacon, mushrooms… a bunch of stuff on it that I can’t really remember now, but it was pretty decent and crazy and subbed the waffle fries for the regular fries.

Albany John got a cuban sandwich, I think? $7.99 or $8.99 for a gigantic loaf of a sandwich. Fine, but nothing mindblowing. Pulled pork, some pickles, maybe some bacon. The regular fries were good, too. Crunchy.

Most of the food, from appetizers to entrees, ranges from $8-12. It’s kind of like “Why bother with mozzarella sticks for $7, when a sandwich costs about as much?”

Close up of my house burger. 8 oz (half pound) of ground beef for $10 isn’t too bad. But they only cook them medium-rare. No rare. My burger came out a hodgepodge of doneness, though. Medium well in the center, with patches of rare and medium rare on the edges. I have no idea how they pulled that one off. I was at the very least pleased that it wasn’t a patty. It was actual ground beef and not some pre-formed frozen patty. Decent grind on it, but it sure needed some salt, even with cubed up bits of bacon on there. It was fine, but nothing to pull me back.

Once we got the bill, I was kind of like “Hunh. Oh, well, I guess we did spend that much.” Not like it was crazy-expensive or anything, but just that it was a little more than it was worth, to me at least.

So here’s my deal with Junior’s. It’s not bad. Not great. Somewhere in the middle. It was a good place for four folks to go out and grab some food and drinks and catch up. The food and drinks were fine. It served our needs. I liked the service, but overall I think I need a place that’s more than just “fine”, you know? Like, nothing on Junior’s, but I bet they could change a few things up and be really good. Right now, it’s just a place that I automatically go “Eh, it’s okay. Yeah, sure, I guess.” when one of my friends suggests it because his 21 year old girlfriend likes the cocktails they make there.

  1. the fuj said:

    Three words: moonshine. wing. night.

  2. Fuj, I need WAY more than those three words. Deets, yo! Got my interests up.

  3. I'm with you on the “mehness” of Junior's. I used to go there for wings and drinks, but if I have the option I'd go elsewhere.

  4. B said:

    Granted, working a block away makes it easy for me to get to McGeary's, but Tess is Tess. While Lark Tavern's location was nice, she was the one who made it what it is, and she does that no matter where she goes. So, while I'd love to see her in a spot closer to Center Square again, don't let some idea about the location keep you away; the food is as good as it ever was, the draught list is great, and it's Tess.

  5. Benjamin said:

    I have to second The Fuji…moonshine wings, on wing night, are something to behold. Some hybrid type of honey-mustard/buffalo that's just magical.

    I've eaten TONS of wings, and have the pant size to prove it. These are easily my favorite go-to wings in the Capital Region.

  6. Jeff W said:

    I know it's nothing spectacular but I do like Juniors… nice atmosphere, decent location (ie… not on busy Pearl Street).

    Just something about it I like I guess… Now I have to take a trip over there sometime soon 🙂

  7. grace said:

    waffle fries! i can't remember the last time i had waffle fries. so good.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: