Sunday, May 15, 2011

Russo's Adirondack Grill

Russo's Adirondack Grill
3664 State Highway 30
Vails Mills, New York   12078
Proprietors Michael and Barbara Russo

It was St. Paddy's Day and my dad was hankering for a drink.  So we went to the rundown Italian bar and restaurant called Russo's in Amsterdam NY.  Dad had a glass of wine and a toast.  I had a diet soda.  We watched the teevee at the bar and the traffic go down West Main.  A train blew through.  Dad had to pee.

Dad came back from the mens' bathroom and I knew it hadn't gone well.  "This place is a rat hole," he said.  By his description, the bathroom was filthy.  We left.

Russo's in Amsterdam had been there for many years-- more than thirty by my reckoning.  And the place looks it.  The restaurant is housed in an old building which had seen better days probably before I was born.  The bar rats look like they crawled out of the Mohawk.  Even the pizza and the pasta fazole  ain't what it used to be there.

But this review is about the new Russo's, the one in neighboring Fulton county.  My dad flatly refused to visit the new Russo's, even after I went to check the mens' room one day.  That may be just as well.

Companion and I went to the new Russo's for lunch yesterday.  There were three men at the bar-- they could have been transplants from the old Russo's so similar in style and appearance they were.  The food is uninspired and flavorless.  On the plus side, companion reports the mens' bathroom is clean.  More negative: the radio was loud and the music-- really bad sixties and seventies style (think, "the worst of...").  There was one drunk at the bar talking to a couple of restaurant patrons who were leaving.  Even the drunk had to yell to be heard.  The bear with the pizza out front rendered by a local chainsaw artist was the only thing remotely Adirondack about the place.  Logs and timber do not equal those great mountains.

From the menu, companion ordered Lobster Bisque ($3.59) and I ordered the Italian Wedding Soup (also $3.59).  In addition to the soups, I also arranged for a plate of garlic bread toasted sans cheese ($2.79, with cheese the price is upped a dollar to $3,79) and I asked for a cup of coffee.

The coffee sucked.  It was lukewarm and uninspiring to my now conditioned for black coffee palate.  It was served in an old fashioned diner style cup which did nothing for the total non-ambiance of the place.  And the wait for the coffee was unacceptably long at 18 minutes.

Companion's soup was served in a crock and it was a pleasing lobster bisque color-- not the fake pink that some places serve.  He declared it to be acceptable.  My Italian Wedding soup was served in a crock also.  I was pleased to see some little slices of squash that so many places leave out.  I was unhappy with the subtraction of cheese from the ingredient list for the little meatballs.  I was very unhappy with the deletion of SPICES from the soup altogether.

The garlic bread was also disappointing.  It was over-toasted and under-buttered.  The cup of marinara sauce that it came with was similarly uninspiring, lacking flavor.  I know times are hard and spices are expensive but geez.  Even at rock-bottom prices, I expect food eaten out will have some taste to it.  

So folks, if traveling about the area skip Russo's Adirondack Grill and keep going.  My personal suggestion is to wait until you hit Saratoga if traveling east, go to Romano's in Johnstown if traveling west, the Crystal Ristaurante if heading south, and some sleepy little diner perhaps in Day or Northville or further along if venturing north.  Russo's Adirondack Grill is bound to disappoint so don't bother.  Even a hot dog from the local Stewart's is more pleasing.

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