Updated: Mar 19, 2019
For tonight's adventures dear readers we'll be heading back to Albany to try a place that's a good representation of what New York state has to offer. My friend and I chose to go out to the Excelsior pub to celebrate his birthday last night.
It's a really small bar located at 54 Phillip street at the corner of Madison just below the plaza. The bar is on the left as you walk in and just past the bar are a handful of tables. My favorite part is that they have 3 pinball machines around the corner from the bar! So bring some quarters.
The idea behind this establishment is that they serve products and dishes from New York state. The menu includes items like spiedies, Buffalo wings, beef on weck and garbage plates, they even have a vegetarian version of the garbage plate!
We decided to order a bunch of the appetizers to try a wider variety of things, even though I really wanted to order the garbage plate. We ordered pizza logs, mozzarella sticks with melba sauce (if you're not familiar this is s sauce made with pureed raspberries), a chicken speedie and Buffalo wings.
One of the flavors available in the wings was called "brown chicken, brown cow". Turns out that's medium wing sauce with the meat sauce they also use on their hotdogs. Had to give that a try. The wings were cooked perfectly in my opinion, although with the meat sauce on them they were very messy to eat. I really enjoyed them as it was a very different flavor and experience with wings.
If you've never had pizza logs they're mozzarella and pepperoni wrapped in a wonton wrapper and deep fried. They come with a side of marinara to dip them in. You can never go wrong with fried cheese in any form.
I recently found out that melba sauce was something specific to upstate New York, Albany in particular. Who knew! The mozzarella sticks were also really good, not your average frozen mass produced ones you get at most restaurants. The perfect combination of sweet, salty and gooey. Whose going to complain about more fried cheese?!
Last but not least the chicken speedies a specialty out of the Binghamton area. You can use pretty much use whatever kind of meat you want, marinade it overnight, then skewer and grill it. Usually the meat is served on a hot dog bun. At Excelsior it was also served with Saratoga chips. These were also great for scooping up the remainder of the brown chicken brown cow sauce that was left over.
I need to mention the staff as well because they were outstanding. We had come in the door and just gone to a table to get our bearings for a minute. One of the gentleman from behind the bar came out to ask if we'd been there before and gave us a rundown of how things worked and was just very genuinely friendly, funny and welcoming.
Now I know I haven't even mentioned the variety of liquors and beers which is probably even more of a draw then the delicious food they serve. I'm not really much of a beer drinker myself, thankfully my friend is and was impressed with their beer selection. The fact that they had 16 beers on tap for such a small location. Almost all the beer and spirits are made right here in New York state. I know that I'm not doing the selection justice so check out their website to see the full listing of the available beers and spirits
There were just so many things making this place worth checking out. High quality food and beverage. The friendly and amazing staff. The maps on the menu showing where different items on the menu originate. Definitely a place I will be returning to.