“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook”

Julia Child

*Disclaimer- my cousin Tamara was bartending the night I went to eat so therefore I’m not going to review my wonderful Lemon Drop martini but if you happen to run into her, she makes it beautifully!

Last week, I went out to eat at Manhattan Exchange (607 Union Street, Schenectady) which I usually think of as a bar but their food is something to be experienced. My Mom, her friend Pete and I went on a Tuesday so the place wasn’t packed as I’ve seen it on a Saturday night which was nice for our chilled out dinner. I ordered the Prix Frix meal that was $20.10 for an appetizer, salad, dinner and dessert.

To start, I ordered a Blue Moon which came in special Manhattan Exchange glasses.  Then for an appetizer, I shared my Fried Calamari with the table since that was the consensus on what I should order. This calamari was served with the correct sauce and was very good. It seems as if restaurants in Schenectady have perfected the amount of breading that should be on fried calamari wonderfully. This was a bigger serving than what we had at Pettas, took a little more effort to finish but we did.

After this, we each had a salad. I find salads to be such a great change of pace between an appetizer and the meal. I love salads and it’s not even that I’m even tasting the salad, the fresh vegetables sandwiched between the calamari and my main course just cleanses the palate and gets me through what I have coming next. This time, my next course was steak.

The steak was fantastic. The bottom of the steak had a bit more fat than I expected but once I got to the middle it was delicious. I order the steak medium rare but my Mom told me that they gave it to me medium. Usually when a restaurant asks how I want the meat cooked, I decide on it depending on my whim of the day because I don’t really think I’d know the different between medium rare and medium. I was able to save part of the steak to eat the next day too and boy, was I happy when I remembered what I had in the fridge for lunch that day! Paired with the steak was vegetables, mostly squashes and mashed potatoes. The potatoes were very airy and light which made both sides nice with the heavier steak.

My Mom ordered the haddock but we both found it to be rather dry. According to the waitress and my cousin, they were both surprised because apparently it’s usually “the bomb.” I wouldn’t write it off completely, if it does end up being dry, just add a splash of lemon and all should be fine.

For dessert, I ordered Strawberry Shortcake and I was in Strawberry heaven. I love when my dessert is covered in fruit, gives me a sense that I’d being slightly healthy with all my sugar. The biscuits were the right texture, slightly crunchy on the outside but crumbly on the inside. I had taken a picture but by that point the restaurant was dark and my pictures didn’t come out as well.

I heard that Manhattan Exchange served great food but “bar food” tends to be made for people who are drunk and just looking for food but this is definitely a place a group of people can go and just eat food, especially during the week. You have the option to sit outside and stare and whomever is wandering through or driving on Union St or sit inside and watch one of the three TVs they have on three different channels, no sound. The plus side about a bar with great food, is that you’re gonna get great drinks too!