even a street closed by a major fender bender, a Do Not
Enter sign, and Kens not-quite-wavering,
not-quite-sure directional scent kept us from
Ferraris in Schenectady.
The archetypical Italian neighborhood restaurant,
Ferraris is a visual, olfactory and auditory
combobulation. Ushered in through the buildings
triangle apex, we carefully wended our way past the seat
backs of the busy bar, waiting a few minutes to be
accosted by the holder of reservation names, and finally
found Mama who directed us to the back room.
Food, of course, is
the main draw, and we witnessed every other person with a
stack of take-home boxes (should have been a clue). After
perusing the list of twenty appetizers, we surveyed the
entrée list. With different combinations of types of
pasta and meats, a hundred different dinners could easily
have been ordered. A plateful, or equivalent, of pasta
(spaghetti, linguine, ziti, cavatelli, and others I
barely knew) accompanied each order, most lightly
slathered with the homemade saucea medium bodied,
smooth topping with just the right roasted tomato taste
for most of us. Entrées, filling most of the generous
dinner plate, and proving the worth of Ferraris
reputation (one exception), were:
francese: breaded, garlic butter lemon sauce (Tim)
broccoli over homemade cavatelli (Deb T: a large bowl;
disappointed with the dried-out chunks of chicken and
somewhat overcooked broccoli
broccoli over homemade cavatelli, a large bowl (Deb K: a
large bowl; excellent)
several flattened breasts of chicken, with a tasty
wine-butter-garlic sauce with dozens of mushrooms (Don:
parmigiano: a plate full of chicken breast, a thin layer
of mozzarella, with another layer of Ferraris
tomato sauce (Kriss: excellent)
called Ferraris classic, another plate
full sized entrée, with the layer of mozzarella and
sauce (Ken: excellent, and probably what he had the last
time he was here)
>shrimp fra diablo:
over a half-dozen shrimp with some hot peppers to add
some heat, with linguine (Chay: excellent, one of the
>veal and shrimp
francese, with the garlic-butter-lemon sauce (Judy: very
Each entrée was gigunda enough to feed two people,
perhaps three, and most of us imitated the earlier
departers cradling the take-home boxes.
One reason for ignoring the appetizers was the knowledge
that a salad, served family-style, came with the meal.
Two bowls of greens, cheese chunks, roasted red peppers,
celery, with Italian seasoning satisfied the early
Within minutes of sitting down, two (again, large) wire
cages of bread dozen slices of Italian loaf,
another dozen pieces of ciabatta-type started the
repast, and, for the first time in a long time, DP8 did
not ask for a refill and, in fact, still left a sizable
portion. Foil-topped packets of butter filled the bottom
of each cage.
Claiming satiety, most chose not to select dessert.
Bucking that trend was Don (rich, creamy chocolate cake
with chocolate icing, with chocolate drip a good
cake); Kriss (vanilla ice cream, with whipped cream and
drizzle of chocolate and caramel syrups); and a canoli
(Deb K). Chay had a Sambuca while Ken finished off
another cup of coffee.
If it is soul-satisfying plenty you want, come to
was an interesting mix elements expected from a
mythic Italian eatery but, if found elsewhere, might have
resulted in mumbling. Nathan, our main server, in black
shirt, white apron, was friendly, attentive, and prompt.
Two water pitchers kept the glasses full, bread cages
were delivered within five minutes, Nathan asked for a
drink order earlier than we were ready (another minute
took care of that), and he delivered each course by
After the entrées were served, however, attracting
Nathans attention was not easy. Two bus girls
cleared empty plates (again, the question arises about
the proper etiquette: do plates stay until the last
person is done, or not?).
Offering desserts seemed almost an afterthought, with the
bus girls taking the order, orally listing the choices,
and seemed not too sure about some, and needed to be
reminded about delivering all of the orders.
The final offering, gratis an ounce of Amaretto in
a chocolate cup firmed our sense of local
character and affinity.
As for pacing, the bread, as mentioned, was set within
minutes, salads arrived at the half-hour mark, and
entrées at the hour mark, a common mark for many
restaurants we have visited. The pacing continued as
agreeably, with dessert done twenty minutes short of two
hours, and the bill paid and our departure at the two
The bill came to $80 per couple, an excellent value at a
classic Italian eatery.
Our drink order included a split of
prosecco, a bottle of Michael Chiarlo Barbera dAsti
and a bottle of Banfi Chianti Classico, appropriate for
this Italian feast. Part of the drink order was (wow) a
gin and tonic for Kriss and (wow) a Margarita for Deb T
(her birthday, and Cinco de Mayo). The price markup for
the wine was one of the lowest DP8 has encountered.
Off into the Super Moon we drove, out onto Congress
Street, back 890 (except Kens car, I hear) and
around to Coxsackie and the long ride home.
It was a fine addition to our list of restaurants
visited, and a good choice, Ken & Kriss.
often attracts the eye, and this section of Congress
Street was interesting, with a residential
section that has seen better times, as has much of
Schenectady. But to have a well known restaurant fit in
the midst, with diagonal parking suddenly confronting
you, I guess, is part of a neighborhoods character.
The building fills the merger of two streets coming to a
diagonal point and thus the building is a triangle, as
noted earlier. After Mama found us, or we
found her, we walked through the regular dining room
a cozy, forty-seat rectangle, with numerous
pictures of past attendees, into a second odd-shaped and
small room, before entering our intended spot.
Noise level, from my seat, was almost deafening, amongst
the loudest weve seen. Without realizing it, most
of us were half-shouting to the person three feet away.
Still, we managed to be heard, although an extra couple
dozen decibels were needed. We chalked it up to Italy.
Tables were set with glass-covered white linen, with two
skinny (less than a yard wide) tables, and no chance for
our usual heads of the table. Large dinner plates and
sides made for a cramped, perhaps cozy, space. So, four
by four was the arrangement. With the noise level, it was
difficult for me to hear Chay or Tim at the other end.
Small-ish water glasses, a linen napkin, and a
less-than-sterling knife and fork introduced us to the
table. Wine glasses were a stock set.
Kens coffee (assumed to be satisfactory) was
overshadowed by a competition of cup sizes, with Ken
claiming King of Cups when the last mug-urn was set
before him. ...
The room is a 16x32ish (four four-foot arches by eight
arches), with large soundproof panels. Two fans
circulated the air, quite cool when we first arrived but
acceptable after twenty minutes. Eight chandeliers of
five upturned tulip globes comprised the lighting, while
three functional windows were covered by non-descript
Wood paneling formed a short-board wainscoting look, and
the same paneling was shaped to form arches almost to the
ceiling, with beige painted walls comprising the faux
space behind the faux arches. This beige space was either
painted or papered with villa-suggestive scenes, or left
bare, or covered with a stray painting or scenery. A faux
stain glass covered the width of the entry wall. It was
as if 1980s had continued into 2012, and either people
accept it as character or dismiss it as old fashioned. I
think we took it as character.
On the way to the car, we retraced our way past the bar,
allowing us to smell and hear the warmth of food and
neighborliness that Ferraris seems to have fostered
these past four decades or more.
The Monteverd domicile was the
evenings starting place, with arrivees noting the
new trees, which led into the explanation of wrong
placements corrected, choices of trees, durability of
Kriss had gathered a plate of crackers and four cheeses;
a dish of fruit and vegetables; and her wooden pineapple
bowl with compartments of candied orange slices, cashews,
and chocolate covered raisins.
Meanwhile, Ken kept glasses filled, with diet soda, La
Marca prosecco, Luna di Luna pinot gris-chard, and
Raisins Gaulois red French wine. Ken, you are getting to
be quite the experimenter lately! and a good one, too.
Thank you, Ken and Kriss, for hosting the pre-session.
Topics at the house, during dinner,
and in the cars ran the usual gamut; there are not too
many quiet pauses.
A hot afternoon sun beat on the west wall of the house
while we talked of retirement party in a month or so, the
other retirees, who is speaking, what words Z could
share, invitees, the Supers attendance, etc.
Tims account of the electrical problems of the new
RV filled a chunk of time. Good luck with that, T&J.
Other topic: Debs foot (walking cast), Debs
testing her foot at Nathans, kids, grandkids, the
Adamses trips, Jen in Singapore, update on the
Karnes roof, roof bids, Kriss opinion of
Kens driving and her likelihood of flying to
Florida, Chays wanting a blade, ..., tree-planting,
a winter stay in Kissimmee for the Monteverds (a next
life stage), the Super Moon, Kens certainty he knew
where we were going, GPS or lack thereof, the road
blockage by the accident, ..., more retirement, more
jugs, Schenectadys plight, school, and ...