I love Aperitivo because it's not only close to my home, but it is a truly unique experience located amongst the other cookie-cutter bars in Schenectady. I also enjoy it because my good friend Jordan is the bartender and he is always whipping up speciality cocktails for us to enjoy.
As we sat down at one of the center bar tables, I prefer to sit in the front room vs. the back (more in the action), we were promptly greeted by our waitress who asked what we wanted to drink. My sister and I opted for a bottle of Pinot Noir (instead of a speciality cocktail which are super yummy there), and then began to wait patiently for the bread to arrive. In the meantime I went over to the bar to chat with Jordan, and realized another friend of mine was sitting at the end of the bar, appearing to be on a secretive date.... perfect. Also, by realized I mean I heard an embarrassing voice yell "Send her down" coming from the opposite end of the bar. I went over and said hello, and then immediately called up my cousin to come and join Kayla and I for dinner (Mr. Secretive is a mutual friend of my cousin and I, and I knew he would enjoy making this situation uncomfortable just as much as I).
As soon as the bread arrived we were in heaven. Its a warm focaccia served alongside oil and vinegar, and is simply delicious. I really love when restaurants put effort into the kind of bread they serve - I feel like all to often restaurants serve some generic italian bread and just call it a day.
Shortly after receiving our bread the waitress was back to take our order....
I had been instructed by my cousin to order him the calamari appetizer as his dinner. This is fried calamari, served with arugula and a sweet chili glaze.
My sister ordered the seared scallops served with a sweet corn puree and corn & bacon hash, and I ordered the grilled swordfish with avocado and almond pesto.
My sister and I also ordered the Matchstick Fries as an appetizer - one of my sister's favorites. We enjoyed our wine and soon our fries arrived.
I instantly fell in love with this dish because of how whimsical it is (and also how tasty). The fries are topped with toasted garlic and parmesan, and served with three dipping sauces, malt vinegar aioli, herbs in oil, and truffle ketchup. To say these fries are addicting would be a severe understatement. They are heaven in a dainty bowl, and I would eat them everyday if my thighs allowed. So. Good. And for the record, my favorite sauce was a toss up between the aioli and oil.
As we waited for both my cousin and our entrees to arrive, we were presented with a complimentary croquet of mozzarella, served with greens dressed in balsamic.
I love the idea of sending out this "app" because it is so appropriate with the whole theme of the restaurant, and is essentially the definition of it.
Soon our entrees, and Nick, arrived, and I was once again I was equally impressed (with the food, not as much with Nick.... just kidding.
The calamari was so delicious, and had the perfect balance of crunch and spice. It's also a really nice appetizer size.
The scallops had a perfect sear on them, and the crispy corn and bacon hash had such a great rich flavor. The puree of corn had a nice silky consistency, and the micro green salad (with radish, cilantro, and lime) added acidity that complimented the dish perfectly, and helped to break up the richness.
My swordfish was juicy, had a great char on the outside, and went really well with the gazpacho sauce and the confit fennel. The potato was also very light and delicious, and had a wonderful hint of olive oil.
I really enjoyed the pesto as well. Traditionally pesto is a combination of basil, walnuts, garlic, and parmesan cheese. The interpretation of avocado with almonds was a great twist, and had a different texture and taste that I really enjoyed.
When dinner, and the bottle of wine, concluded, the real fun began. The three of us joined our friend and his date at the bar, and added to the already awkward situation. You can tell the night is going to be awkward when you ask,
"Do you guys work together." and at the same time you get both "Yes" and "No" as a response. Kind of hard to proceed from there - Naturally I asked for some sort of elaboration, in which she insisted they did work together and he adamantly denied it. After some more awkward convo and drinks we finally called it a night (we were also the last ones in the place).
I would strongly recommend for anyone in the area to go to Aperitivo at least once. It has a great modern atmosphere, friendly (and cute) bartender, and the food is some of the best I've had in the capital district. Trust me, you won't leave disappointed. (And trust me, I will be back there soon to try some more great dishes and report on them!)