My favorite animal is steak


If you haven’t been to Crossgates Mall recently, you may be surprised by some of the new places that have opened up. Most recently I had a chance to check out Rascals located on the Upper Level Rascals-1across from FunnyBone Albany.

Rascals is a 16,000 square foot space that features a steakhouse, three bars, live entertainment on two stages , and an events facility. An idea of Philip and Linda Lama, Rascals is “fine dining with a vegas-esque flair-listening room combo” according to their website and paired with Chef Nicholas Armstrong, Chef Matthew Krawczyk & Sara Inman they have created just that!

You first walk in through the front door, you have an area that I could consider as more casual- bar to your right, high tops to your left. Once you walk through there, you get to the more upscale dining area with well-dressed tables & lower lighting. Continue through and that’s where you find their live music venue with its own entrance and bar. There wasn’t any music going on the night I attended but I have to imagine there’s some kind of soundRascals-2proofing to not ruin your night if you’re not a part of the event.

For dinner, we started with popcorn and wasabi peas instead of bread which I loved. I love getting bread before my meal but it does tend to be heavy (especially because I end up eating half a loaf before I’ve even ordered) and with popcorn, it wasn’t like that. I could have something to nibble on before my meal but didn’t feel like it took away from how much I would be eating. For a drink, I ordered the Utah Two Step which is High West Whiskey Double Ry, Coca Cola, Cherry Juice & a splash of sour mix. Think about the ingredients, it was like an alcoholic Cherry Coke- genius!

For a starter, we ordered the Grilled Crostini Platter ($10), an artisan loaf with whipped goat cheese, Beech mushrooms, pea greens, ver jus vinaigrette, sesame herb crackers & roasted red pepper herbed ricotta. Part of me was a little upset that I had to share this dish with my guest because the flavors paired so well together, it was so light, I couldn’t get enough. Rascals3One thing that stood out with each of these dishes was that the presentation was something I’d never seen before. It wasn’t just a dish with food on it, it was expertly thought out and staged and I really appreciated the time that Chef took with each dish.

For dinner, I ordered the Mahi-Mahi ($28) that included aged provolone roman gnocci, P.E.I. mussels, rainbow chard, white asparagus, sweet & sour ragout almonds with a grilled baguette. I know what you’re thinking, Rascals is a steakhouse, how could I not order the steak? My guest ordered the 8oz Filet Mignon ($38) which was incredible but since I knew I would get a taste or two of her meal, I wanted to try something else on the menu. Apparently Chef didn’t like the condition of the P.E.I. mussels that night and requested that he could replace it which clams, which I accepted.

Again, the Rascals4presentation was amazing but the meal itself was okay. The fish was cooked perfectly and the calms did actually pair well with everything but I felt as if there was too much going on with the rest of the dish. I wasn’t particularly impressed with how the flavors paired & I found myself a bit overwhelmed. It was good, I finished what was on my plate but I would probably lean toward ordering a steak the next time I eat there. Also, on the side, I ordered the blue cheese scalloped potatoes which were amazing!

I couldn’t finish my meal without trying something on the dessert menu and I’m so glad I did! My guest and I ordered the Chocolate Mousse Semifreddo ($8) to share. It was by far my favorite thing I’d eaten that night as well as probably the best dessert I’ve ever had. It was graham cracker puree, creme anglaise, peanut butter powder & raspberry coulis. Again, the presentation took my breath away. I felt as if eating this dessert wasn’t Rascals5just eating for the sake of taste but an actual experience. A way to blend different flavors together, to play with my food where it’s acceptable for a 27-year-old to do so. Some of the drinks they offer for dessert looked amazing as well, too bad I was too full for that!

Overall, I really enjoyed myself. I loved the atmosphere and though there are a ton of different venues inside one establishment which means a plethora of different things going on, I honestly didn’t really notice. My favorite part of the meal hands-down was the dessert and though I don’t think I enjoyed my meal as much as I would’ve if it was steak, I did like it. I liked how light it was, how well the fish was cooked and I appreciated the Chef caring about my meal enough to replace something they didn’t feel was up to par. From what I heard, they have amazing macaroni and cheese so I already know what I’m ordering the next time I have dinner there!

NOTE: Though I was not paid for my review, my meal was comped by the restaurant in order to give me the opportunity to write about them. 

[Quote by Fran Lebowitz]

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