I guess you could call this an interesting week, eating out-wise. Sadly we learned that the City Squire in Schenectady has closed, abruptly. As in, seemingly out of the blue. I mean, we were just there. Typical busy weekend dinner crowd, noisy, busy bar. You got me, but we’re sad, the food had gotten really good in the past year or so, pretty much worth the few extra bucks that had also been added to the menu. Their wings were raved about and for good reason. Great burgers. Gonna miss that place.
I did get to try that Schenectady institution, Morette’s King Steak House on Erie.
I have to admit I never got there under the previous ownership, but finally got in this week for lunch. It was good. No pictures, but you can find photos of the tasty grub all over the internet. I’m sure some will lament it wasn’t what it was 30 years ago or whatever, but I had no preconceptions coming in. I figured I’d better stick with a steak sandwich for my first trip and wasn’t disappointed. I did go with a ‘Queen’ and my dining companion got a ‘King’ so I got to see the sizes.
The King is a typical sub roll size, loaded with thin, sliced steak (which makes for easy eating) and toppings of your choice. The Queen is a squishy soft roll size, plenty for lunch. Toppings available include a few cheeses, peppers and onions, mushrooms I think, marinara, and they cost extra (save for marinara). Sides are extra. I went with pepper jack that was melted and mixed in with the meat and gave it a really nice, cheesy consistency with just the right amount of zing. It was an excellent choice. I’d like to give Morette’s another whirl. Soon.
Next up is a non-local place that makes me happy and sad. Well, it makes my mouth sad, my waistline happy. If you find yourself down Middletown way and aren’t in a huge hurry, you can do much worse than Mix N’ Mac. Here you can get…macaroni and cheese. No, really. I’m surprised they have tables – comfy couches or overstuffed chairs to curl up in and devour this serious comfort food would be appropriate.
It’s small, 8 or 9 tables (?), and just a hair tough to find on 211 (look for Pizza Hut, same turnoff). They make everything to order, which is pretty cool, but not lightning fast. You order from their lengthy mac and cheese menu, or you can make your own combo. You can also go with whole wheat elbows or even gluten free (extra cost for each).
You’re looking at 10-20 minutes between order and eating, it looks like. They say 10-15 minutes, which is probably the short end. I waited about 20 minutes, but almost all tables had people at them and no one had food, which means I was behind a line of people that had already ordered. It was OK. I was just about getting antsy when my order was ready. They take elbows, mix it with cheese and ingredients, top with more cheese, and send it through one of those conveyor type of ovens where it gets all hot and melty. When it comes out you’ll be asked if you want a sprinkle of bread crumbs. Go for it, the textural variety is a nice touch.
So they have 3 sizes, I got the ‘personal’, normal size. You can also go mini and they do family size, too. Personal is a large serving of gooey goodness. Honestly, it’s too much for a typical lunch. Most people were getting covers to take their leftovers. Unable to take any leftovers and pretty hungry, I just polished it off. With a $2 bottle of soda (nice selection, they even had Dewshine), it was a sub-$10 lunch.
There wasn’t a lot of meat in it. Either they’re skimpy or they choose to make their offerings mostly about the mac. I choose to believe it’s the latter, which is fine. I didn’t even notice any onion, either it wasn’t there or it just blended in. Again, fine with me. There was some tomato, I’d again have preferred more, but see the start of this paragraph. You know what might sound funny? I wanted more pickle. There was just the pickle on top, but upon eating it, I was thinking it would be great to have some slices or cut up slices of pickle scattered through there. The acidic bite of the pickle really made the whole bite sing. Next time I’m in the area I may just find myself here again and I think I might ask to sub some pickles for the onion. Mmmm.
As for the downside, all I can really come up with is that I’d have liked a touch more fillings. As I was eating, pondering what I would write, I was thinking that the cheese on top was a little too hard, overdone. I do think it could benefit from maybe 30 seconds less under the heat, but I talked myself out of it. The firm top helped seal in the heat of the dish, so as you work your way through your gooey meal, it stays warm the whole time. This was beneficial as I don’t think this would work well if it was getting cold.
I will note that the online menu may be a bit out of date, for example, adding on bacon is now apparently $1, not 5o cents. I couldn’t tell if there were other changes. I also want to note that they’re going to be closed for a bit for vacation starting the 27th or 29th, so if this review has you ready to head 2 hours south to Mix N’ Mac, you might want to wait a couple of weeks.
I’m not sure I would say you should definitely make the trip just for a meal here, but if you’re at all in the area, I strongly recommend it…as do others. It’s a top 5 selection for Middletown on Trip Advisor. For good reason.
And last but NOT AT ALL LEAST, the Gazette is reporting that Persian Bite, flooded out of their Jay St. location, is remodeling a larger spot on Union in the area of Cafe Nola and those environs that the brothers got from a brother in law. They’re hoping to be open by the end of July! Super psyched, we can’t wait.