fighting the lack of good ideas

kielty’s emerald isle restaurant and pub

I love good pubs. Recently I discovered yet another Irish pub in Waterford NY. Kielty’s sits on the north side of Broad St a couple blocks from the Hudson River – number 41. My sister and I had been planning to grab a light lunch at Don and Paul’s (a coffee/sandwich shop she likes), but when we got out and saw this, we both decided to check it out.

Seating is fairly limited – perhaps [legally] space for about 40 folks. Limited seating certainly doesn’t impact the quality of either the beverages (not a wide selection, but a few good ones to pick from), nor the excellence of the food. When we went for lunch, she got sweet potato fries (eww!) that she said were awesome (<shudder>) and a grilled cheese sandwich while I ordered a tuna melt with chips. Had I been more clever, I would’ve eaten the tuna melt first, then had some chips. But no, I wasn’t that clever, eating the small mountain of fried potatoy goodness then attacking the melt.

I couldn’t finish the sandwich – it was really good, but way more than I needed for lunch 🙂

The next evening my dad joined my sister and I in going back. He got a burger, and I tried their grilled cheese sandwich after ogling the one my sister had eaten the day before. By the time we left, some live music was getting ready to start, and the place was beginning to pack-in. It appeared that Kielty’s an active member of the local music scene in southern Saratoga and northwestern Rennselaer counties.

Having added yet another restaurant to my list of places to eat is great. Now the problem becomes which one to pick when I want to go out!

the pub and grille

My family moved into Cohoes in 1993. Shortly after moving in, we noticed a small pub up the road and have threatened to go eat there ever since.

Monday night we finally did. Admittedly, it wasn’t our first choice – we had been planning to hit-up another local place in Cohoes recommended to us by the Sunday bar tender at Uno’s in Latham, but The Pub and Grille was open – and we were hungry.

It’s gone a by a few names in the past, perhaps most famously “Maggie’s”. One surprising thing my parents, sister, and I noticed on entry was how small it is inside. Officially it can hold 35 people.

After taking a moderately long walk in the very windy and chilly weather to find Joe’s closed, and then walking back towards the house we arrived at 201 Columbia St around 8 in the evening. There were maybe five customers other than us – but it being a Monday night, that wasn’t surprising. We found a table in the back, and Kim scurried out from behind the bar to hand us menus, silverware, and take our drink orders.

The menu is simple – I like that in a pub. While it does use both sides of the laminated sheet of paper, the font is large, easily readable, and offers about a dozen items.

My sister ordered their mild wings, which she was very happy with. My mom, dad, and I all ordered burgers. We also got their smothered cheese fries to share, and I got an order of chicken tenders in their atomic sauce to both have there and bring home for later. The only goof in the order was with my dad’s burger, which didn’t have the cheese or bacon he’d requested, but did have onions which he hadn’t. However, Kim got that fixed in just a couple minutes, and we were back to enjoying our respective meals.

Currently their beer selection is pretty limited – Sam Adams, Bud, and something else on tap, and a couple in bottles. However, as good fortune would have it, Monday also saw a local beer distributor showing up for a small staff tasting and discussion of craft beers.

We sat around visiting, eating, and just generally enjoying the evening for about an hour and a half before my parents and sister decided to head the 4 blocks back to their house.

Meanwhile, because I wanted to stay and have a couple more drinks,  I introduced myself to the group sampling the various craft beers that had been brought by the distributor, and was invited to take part – yahoo! free beer!

Available for tasting for a strawberry brew (way too sweet in my book, but similar to a Lindeman’s Cassis or Framboise for consistency), various hoppy ales, a couple browns, and a black – among others I don’t recall now. The best part of trying small samples of the different beers brought wasn’t, in fact, that they were free, but that most were made in the general vicinity – ie, the northeast and mid-Atlantic states. I’m a sucker for local brews when they’re available.

The Pub and Grille doesn’t have a set closing time, per se. It might be as early as 11p, or as late 3:30a – it depends on how many folks are there wanting to buy beverages. A little before 11 Monday night, Kim was about to make a last call to the bar when three new folks sauntered-in. Never one to pass-up a customer, the place ended being open till nearly 1:30.

For beer heads, the Pub and Grille isn’t yet a place to go for a good selection of brews, but it will be in a couple weeks as they add a whole series of craft brews to the menu.

If you’re looking for a nice, small, friendly place to hang out, has good food, and good atmosphere (literally – this is NY state were talking about), especially if you want to be able to walk home if you’ve maybe had one too many, this place should make the list of anybody in Cohoes.

holmes and watson ltd

After our mixed experience at Brown’s Monday evening, my buddy Chris and I headed over to Holmes and Watson a few blocks away on Broadway in Troy.

I wasn’t very hungry, but after walking inside, I could tell that the folks running Holmes and Watson were at least going to *act* more friendly than our waitress at Brown’s.

H&W has 20+ beers on tap from all over the country and world, in a great mix of styles. From this array of choices, I added two to my list of beers I’ve tried with the Rogue Mogul and Hophound.

Eventually we did decide to get some snack food, and their clam chowder was awesome – exceptionally thick and creamy. The hot wings looked good, but I’m not a fan of them because they have bones (yes, I’m that lazy).

Holmes and Watson is also setup on two levels, and their menu items are all named for characters/places/events in the Sherlock Holmes world. Since we were just having a couple drinks and some light fare, we stayed at the bar, but they can easily accomodate scores of customers. This spot has definitely been added to my list of regular stops when I’m home visiting.

brown’s brewing

Monday night I went to Brown’s Brewing on River St in Troy. Their menu is wide-ranging, and many of the beers they serve they brew in-house.

Seating is available on two levels, along with a sizable bar, and they were really busy for a Monday evening, so we sat upstairs.

For dinner, I had the portobello fries and a bowl of french onion soup, while my friend Chris had one of their burgers.

We also tried several of their house brews, including a pilsner and ESB. The pilsner wasn’t to the standard of Pilsner Urquell, but was still pretty good. The ESB was a decent example of the style, too.

The only drawback to our evening was that our waitress became very rude after we’d been there for a while. We’d been there for over an hour when I ordered dessert (a fantastic porter chocolate cake slice). When she brought dessert out she also dropped-off our check – and not with a “if you’d like anything else, let me know”-type statement but more along the lines of “I don’t want to bring you anything else, pay me now”.

So we did, and then headed over to Holmes and Watson a few blocks away to finish enjoying the evening.

I do plan to go back because the food was god, and so was the beer, but I’ll be avoiding that waitress in the future.

man of kent tavern and cafe

My friend Chris has been bragging-up Man of Kent in Hoosick Falls for months. So on this foray to the Great White North (aka ‘home’), we decided to go out for the evening.

They’re located at 4452 Route 7 in Hoosick Falls, on the south side of the road, about 20ish minutes outside of Troy.

Their menu has top-notch pub food, with most ingredients sourced locally. They don’t have a huge on-tap selection – maybe 10ish – but they have scores of bottled beers to pick from if the draught ones aren’t good enough.

Chris had a portobello panini and hot wings, while I enjoyed their chicken soup and mac & cheese. We met the owner, one of the waitresses (Chelsea), and two pub regulars. The owner, waitress, and pub regulars were all pleasant to talk to, and all bragged-up the establishment. It’s not ultra close to my parents’ place, but worth the ride out for atmosphere, food, and good drinks.