September 2004 -
5.25 - 6.5, 6, 5.5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 4
A fifty minute trip, made longer by five to ten minutes from traffic lights switching between cars, drew us toward Albany. By Feura Bush, the rear car was guessing Jacks or Lombardos. Either by deceptive planning or erratic directions, we were thrown in front of Jacks, but then circled to the real destination Lombardos. Whereupon, carboys whisked us out of the cars and we entered into one of Albany s best known names.
Upside: Well, the car ride, if you hadnt noticed, especially in downtown Albany was a bit of adventure with Ken having to wait for Tim, which later instigated a discussion of a Plan B in case we ever get separated. Even earlier, Kens choice up to Rt 32 was a scenic tour of countryside most of us dont see.
And, even earlier than that were hors doeuvres at the Monteverds (their pick), with Kriss making sure that if we had not gone out, any hunger would have been satiated with all the choices. But, even better, well, in addition, Deb had finished Volume 2 of the dinner reviews, and Don read a half dozen, provoking commentary about some of the details we may have forgotten about. It was a nice way of recalling July 2003 to August 2004, which marked 22 consecutive months of DP8. Thanks, Deb (and Tom), for providing the keepsake.
Back to Lombardos. A classic Italian-aura experience awaits the diner. A long and narrow interior, lined with booths, with temperate lighting and a dozen or so wall paintings made for a classic interior. We sat by the street door, so depending on your point of view, it was either busy or interesting.
Shrimp, veal, pasta, in red sauce, or the ravioli in the cream sauce, along with a brace of Tiziana Chianti bottles, along with glasses of Pinot Grigio or White Zinfandel defined our main course.
The service was, well, satisfactory. It was terse, at times, with a hint of humor, but not as outstanding as weve seen in a few of our other visits.
The meal was preceded by oil laden with garlic bits with bread to start, and then a salad. For dessert, we tried profiterole or peach sorbet or something lemony or black Sambuca or Frangelica.
The way home started with our customary switching of back seat passengers, and ended with a driveway conversation.
The risqué side almost never surfaced.... Aside from that, we were almost good, with discussions of past trips to Lombardos (the Monteverds a few times, and the Adamses several or more times, the rest were rookie visits).
Downside. Damn, it was cold. We must have sat under the air conditioning compressor. Even after the air conditioning was mostly shunted aside, we still were barely on the low comfort side of cool. A few trips to the bathroom warmed a couple patrons.
And, Tim was not funny. A energy-sapping cold enervated him, probably the same cold Tom was getting, or had, and both were soon to pass on to their wives. It was tough to have a cold and be cold.
The other factor (maybe it was just me) was I had my expectations set very high. And, the entrees were good, the sauces mostly ordinary, and the service was satisfactory, but I had built an expectation higher than Lombardos was delivering. If I hadnt known I was at Lombardos, I would have declared the restaurant a good visit. Still, Im glad I went to Lombardos and would be tempted to try again.