Vince Anna’s - November 2017 (dt)
6.76 – 7.6, 7.2, 7, 7, 7, 6.8, 6.2, 6, 6

A stay-close-to-home almost-winter pick led us to Vince Anna’s, with the core-6, Lynda & Ross & Den present and the Florida-bound Monteverds absent.

Placement at a round table in the corner nearest the bar’s end was much too our liking, enough so to mention earlier than usual. Noise level was low, and we old-timers could easily hear the conversation, unless three of them were happening at the same time!

Vince Anna’s cuisine, as it has been for over 70 years is decidedly Italian-themed. Comprising the menu are twenty appetizers, fifteen pasta dishes, thirty Italian specialty dishes, twenty more seafood dishes, ten other-meats dishes, ten more open-faced sandwiches, and, of course, pizza.
            A woven, cloth-covered basket of thinly sliced Italian bread kept the nibblers happy. A ramekin of herbed softened butter and another with olive oil added a satisfying choice.
            Waiter Valerie left a pitcher ice water and we filled our glasses.
            Last visit last winter, we ordered an antipasto for the table and thought later it sapped our appetites. Someone remembered this time. We heeded our own advice, ordered no appetizer, and thanked ourselves later for not overeating too much.

            Our drink order had started with the early arrivers quaffing drafts at the bar. These were complemented at our table by two carafes of a nondescript house Chianti.
            The house salad fits a molded, eight-inch glass dish filled with mixed greens, a couple stubs of carrot, several circles of onion, a few crescents of pepper, and a couple of tomato slices – a sufficient and basic starter, with dressings on the side. The alternate was the house soup. Eight salads, one soup. All agreed: satisfactory-good.

Our choices of entrées, perhaps exhibiting a fair range of the menu, included:

Most agreed our main courses were good, with a couple rated excellent, and a couple average. Judgment of portion size varied. Sides included: steamed broccoli for eight, and pasta with sauce for one.

We sat a little and, by the time dessert was offered, the two maybes agreed with the seven no’s and we asked for the bill.

Service from Valerie was good – attentive, cheerful, eager to please. With Ken absent, the coffee standard is no longer judged. Requests granted, questions answered.
If I had to quibble, there were a couple of lags of time. And a personal peeve of mine is for a server to take orders in a certain order, and then the deliverer of food (this time, someone other than Valerie) having to ask who gets what.
The other quibble for which there is no easy fix, other than to move the table away from the corner, is the tight fit of our table in the corner. It seemed that three of us always thanked our neighbor for passing the plates. We don’t mind but…

Ambiance can be gleaned from past write-ups. However, it should be noted that the soapstone wood stove, located about twenty feet in back of Chay and Den was a-cookin’, enough so that we should have opened one of the windows to allow some of 40 degree air to mix. Otherwise, Vince Anna’s has its own look that regulars know well. Darkness starts settling by 5 p.m. and winter awaits. (thinking of you, Tim)

The pacing of the meal was just about right. We had started at 6:30 and we were out almost at 8:30. And our new routine, about a year and a half old, of Thursdays evenings often allows for a quieter restaurant and that appeared to be the case this evening.

The final bill came to $64 per couple, including tax, tip and drinks, a third less than last year’s bill. Consider an appetizer and several desserts less than last year, and the math holds up. And we will put in a plug for the Thursday night special—buy one entrée, get the second half price. (Also good on Tuesday and Wednesday.)

We again agreed on no pre-session, a much more common choice over the last year, and thus met directly at VA.
            The big topic of the evening was, of course, Den’s showing of his photographs at the Colonie Town Library with four other artists. He said the time flew by with all the well-wishers, the curious, and those wishing to support one of our own. One had to see the exhibition to appreciate the quality of Den’s work. Suffice it to say that all were impressed.
            Topics at the table: the Notarnicola traveling schedule, Thanksgiving plans, chances of snow before Thanksgiving (slim), wood piles (like the ones lining the sidewalk into V.A.’s), our real world worker, golfing season just about kaput, cycling season just kaput, health of our parents, doings of our children, recent obituaries, deer beginning to stake out our yards, the upcoming deer season, online shopping, wondering what the Quinns & Adamses & Monteverds are doing, and lots of other directions that remain elusive for this write-up.

Happy Thanksgiving and early Christmas shopping!