If you know Schenectady, then you know that we have the best Italian food in the Capital Region. One of the originals is Cornell’s in Little Italy and I got to try their eight-course tasting menu – what a magical experience!
NOTE: I was gifted this dinner experience but was in no other way compensated and my opinions are my own.
I was honored to have the eight-course tasting menu and somehow every course got better than the last. Honestly, I have so many comments about the experience, it’ll be easier to just break it down by course.
- COURSE 1: Sage-scented white bean & garlic confit with warm Perreca’s Italian bread paired with a Huge Spritz St. Germain, mint, prosecco seltzer float.
- Honestly, one of the best things about the owner of Perreca’s also being the owner of Cornell’s is being able to utilize the bread from the delicious bakery next door. You can’t go wrong with their bread and the confit was reminiscent of hummus but with more garlic – delicious.
- COURSE 2: “Really the best” New England Clam Chowder
- It’s tough to say it’s the best when I’ve had clam chowder in Massachusetts but it is very good. The chunks of clam were big and flavorful, and the heavy cream wasn’t too overpowering to the texture of the dish. I did need to add some salt and pepper but overall, very good. I didn’t order the gazpacho but did taste it and though I normally don’t like the cold soup, that was also great.
- COURSE 3: Peach, arugula and burratta antipasto
- All they had to say was peach and burrata and I was hooked. Everything was fresh and tasted so well paired together, as to be expected.
- COURSE 4: Bruleed fig & goat cheese crostini with balsamic reduction paired with LaMarca Prosecco
- Aside from Fig Newtons, I have an interesting relationship with figs. Seeing them sliced on the crostini made me nervous but with the goat cheese, the texture and flavor really worked. The goat cheese wasn’t too strong and though, I wish there was more, it was best at course four that there wasn’t. Pairing it with the light and bubbly prosecco was a great decision!
- COURSE 5: Intermezzo – boozy flight of housemade sorbet paired with limoncello, Patron and prosecco floaters
- I’ll be honest, I was starting to get a little full by this point and didn’t even get to the entrees yet. The sorbets were delicious and floating them in alcohol was a great idea. The Patron was a little strong for my taste like that but I ate all of the limoncello one.
- COURSE 6: Cornell’s famous housemade cavatelli paired with Umani Ronchi Montepulciano
- The table ate this family style and ended up fighting for who would get the last bite. The pasta was cooked perfectly and the sauce paired with the wine was delightful. I could order this by itself and be completely satisfied.
- COURSE 7: Duck confit, roasted eggplant and classic Beef Wellington
- This is when it got real. I’ll go from least favorite to most (which is a small margin). I love eggplant and maybe because I’ve been eating it a lot lately, but though it was delicious, I wasn’t super excited about it. It was great but if I ordered that and the person I was with ordered one of the others, I’d start picking off of their plate.
- I don’t order Beef Wellington often so I was excited for the opportunity. It was fantastic. The gravy on the crust and meat and going back to the plate to dip it in some more – too good!
- My favorite, though, of the three courses was the duck confit. The meat was so tender, it was seasoned perfectly and it was the perfect serving size. I’ll keep an eye on their menu because I’ll have to order that again when I don’t have to share. Even the root vegetables it came with were amazing, I’d eat those by themselves.
- COURSE 8: Affogato – housemade vanilla bean gelato with a Perreca’s almond biscotti and espresso pour-over paired with Aberlour 12-year-old Speyside Single Malt Scotch
- I ordered this without espresso since I don’t like it but the gelato was a great way to end the dinner. It was a beautiful palette cleanser with a hint of vanilla. Also, eating that and drinking some of the smoothest scotch I’ve had was the perfect end to the night.
Overall, after having tasted a good chunk of the menu, I’ve decided that you really can’t go wrong with what you order at Cornell’s. From appetizer to entree, pasta and dessert, you’ll be happy with wherever your tastebuds lead you!
This may feel like a lot of food (it was) but Cornell’s in Little Italy offers a lot of great opportunities that take up less stomach space. Take a look at their Thursday Date Night special ($75 for two people) where they also offer child care. They’ve also been hosting drag shows and themed-brunches so follow their social media because you never know what kind of event they’re going to come up with next!