Though I don’t pigeon-hole myself into saying that I’m a food critic/food blogger, to write about the Capital Region obviously involves writing about food in the area (plus, I really just enjoy eating). So when The Restaurant at the Pointe (1 Bell Tower Dr, Watervliet) reached out to me to write about them, I couldn’t turn it down. I’m always looking to try new places that I haven’t yet experienced, add to it that this is in Latham where I work and it was a match!
Driving down the street, I’m gonna be honest, I thought I went the wrong way. I pulled up to what I knew as Shaker Pointe, the retirement community, and figured I had passed the restaurant, until I saw the large sign and an arrow. We pulled right in to a specified parking lot and the restaurant wasn’t too far into the community itself that we’d get lost. I can understand what you’re thinking as you read this: It seems a little strange to go into a retirement community to eat dinner but after experiencing it first-hand, I’d have to disagree. Not that it would be a problem, but it just felt like we were pulling into a restaurant for dinner and didn’t have any contact with those living in the community or their specific buildings, except for those having dinner at the same time we were.
Apparently the building itself was designed to emulate the architecture of the Shakers and their Round Stone Barn from the 1800s. It’s beautiful! The restaurant itself only opened a few months ago (November 2015) and is said to be the first restaurant on the East Coast that is open to the public as well as located in a senior-living facility. The Chef, Chef Steven Campbell, graduated from CIA in 2002 & worked for Mazzone Hospitality for 10 years.
We were greeted at the door and I was really surprised by what a hidden gem this restaurant really is. Once we were seated, the first thing I noticed, which is the obvious focal point of the room, was their oven. The minute I saw that, I was craving pizza and just my luck, it was Pizza Tuesday! An 8-cut pizza with cheese, 10 wings (1 of 3 flavors) & 2 house wines or beers- perfect! They also have Burger Wednesdays for $10 and every second and fourth Saturday is Prime Rib Night for $20.
First, we got our garlic Parmesan chicken wings. To start, I’m not the biggest fan of chicken wings. I know, I know- how dare I, right? I’m usually the one that eats all the celery or carrots dipped in blue cheese while you’re licking your fingers. There’s just something about them that doesn’t impress me but even knowing that, I gave these a try and they were pretty good! The chicken was very moist, the hints of garlic Parmesan were great (I even added some to my pizza). I do wish that the garlic parm was more of a sauce instead of clumps of garlic and cheese which left some bites to be just chicken but overall, they were solid wings. Next, the part I’m better at discussing- the pizza.
For an added price, you can add toppings to your Pizza Tuesday pizza and we went with onions, artichoke and spinach. At first glance it seemed like they forgot the spinach but after one bite, I was surprised to see it laying between the cheese and dough. I loved that! Everything was cooked perfectly. The dough was really flat, which I love- hey, I’m a New Yorker, what can I say? Next test was the sauce, which was really good! Sauce is where a lot of pizzas lose it for me and I loved this sauce. It wasn’t too thin but was chunky enough where I could taste the bits of tomato. My feelings on cheese with pizza is that if some string of it doesn’t fall on your chin while you’re eating, then someone isn’t doing it right. That, or I’m a slob who you can’t take anywhere but I prefer to go with the former. My first bite and the cheese was stringy and had pull and was perfect. The dough held up the pizza, it had structure, it wasn’t some gooey mess that I had to fight with to eat.
The only strange thing about our meal was at about 7:00PM we were by ourselves in the restaurant. Granted, it was a Tuesday night and being in a retirement community, I don’t assume they’re slinging back drinks until 10PM but it was strange to be the only people there. On the flip side, which may or may not have had to do with the fact that we were alone, their service was super fast! I’ve had dinners where I’ve waited for an hour and ate my weight in bread before our food came. The service here was perfect! Pearl, our waitress, was amazing. She was really attentive, sweet, and we loved her.
Overall, I’ve told everyone about this place since my meal. The place is great, the food is great, the service is great. Why aren’t you eating dinner there already? Make a reservation, apparently, you need to order the salmon, and let me know how it goes!