Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Century House

The other night the whole family (unfortunately minus Jordan) was together and decided to head out in the middle of a severe thunder storm and pouring rain to go to dinner at The Century House; located at 997 State Route 9 in Cohoes, NY.  The Century House is a hotel, restaurant, and banquet hall that has been around for 220 years on the same original plot of land.

In all of my years living in upstate NY I have driven by this place hundreds of times and never thought to go there for dinner - mostly because it appears as more of a banquet hall than a restaurant. I was definitely curious about what it had to offer, and excited to try it. Obviously on our way there it went from sprinkling to a straight downpour, which clearly didn't let up by the time we arrived... and did we bring umbrellas? nope. Needless to say, even with our 10 ft run from the car to shelter we all got pretty soaked.

Once we finally got inside and waited for my mom to make her big escape from the car we shook off and headed to our table. My first impression of the restaurant was that it was a little dated on the inside. It was just something about the dark wooden chairs, and the very dim lighting, it seemed homey but almost log cabin like. There was live entertainment so the volume was on the louder side, but not as bad as 677 Prime. The restaurant was pretty crowded which surprised me, and it remained crowded for the duration of our dinner. This restaurant definitely has a bit of an older crowd (there was a woman celebrating her 97th birthday that night) so if you are looking for a trendier spot this might not be for you.

Our waitress came by to take our drink orders, and we perused the menus. For appetizer's my dad ordered the French Onion Soup, I ordered the White Asparagus Soup of the day, and my mom ordered the Century House Wedge Salad.

White Asparagus Soup

The white asparagus soup was absolutely delicious. The texture of the soup was extremely pleasing, and the portion was just enough that I actual finished the whole bowl. The asparagus flavor really came through without being too overpowering.

Classic French Onion Soup
The french onion soup was a traditional french onion soup with tons of that creamy crunchy cheese on top - my dad really enjoyed it.

Wedge Salad

The salad was iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, shaved red onion, cracked black pepper, pancetta crisp and avocado ranch dressing. My mom enjoyed her wedge salad, but to be honest I'm not a huge fan of the presentation at all. First of all - too many red onions and not enough pancetta (or BACON).... Also, the cucumbers are all different sizes, and why is the dressing on the opposite side of the plate? Definitely not my favorite presentation for this kind of salad.

For dinner, I ordered the Peppered Hudson Valley Margret Duck Breast, My dad and Kayla ordered the Light House Shore Dinner, and my mom ordered the Veal Oscar.

Peppered Duck
The duck was crusted with both black and pink peppercorns, served with a smoked blackberry duck sauce and a crackling and confit wild rice cake.

I enjoyed the duck, however it was a little too dry. I asked for the duck to be served medium rare, and I was hoping for more pink on the inside. The sauce was nice, but there was a lot of it, and it tasted more like BBQ sauce than blackberry, but overall I enjoyed the consistency of it. The cake was okay, I had a few bites of it but it just didn't make me want to keep eating it. I'm disappointed because I love duck and it's hard to find it cooked in this manor (usually it's served as a whole breast), so I was really looking forward to it - I just wish it was juicier.

Light House Shore Dinner
The Light House Shore Dinner was broiled lobster, pan seared scallops, crab stuffed jumbo shrimp, and whipped potatoes with veg. This dish missed the mark a little. The scallops were pretty good, but the potato was bland and it just didn't seem like a great plate of seafood. My dad seemed to enjoy, it for the most part, but my sister wasn't really a big fan. I think her and I have become seafood snobs after living in Boston and being around great, fresh seafood all the time, but at the same token I don't think restaurants should serve an entire seafood dish unless they can deliver.

My mom's Veal Oscar was veal scaloppini, poached asparagus, topped with lobster and scrap meat, a hollondaise sauce, and whipped potatoes. 

The asparagus was done nicely, and had a beautiful green shade that added nice color to the dish. The overall flavor of this dish was nice, however I found the veal to be a little dry. I think this is because it was such a thin cut of veal that it would be almost impossible not to overcook it. My mom seemed to enjoy the majority of the dish though. 

Finally for dessert we ordered the Baked Alaska. It was a coconut sponge cake, with a passion fruit sorbet center, with torched swiss meringue and fruit coulis. The presentation was very appealing, but it just wasn't my favorite. My mom liked it, however the whole texture of the dish seemed a little off - for me personally. I will say that I would never order this type of dessert, simply because it's not really my cup of tea, so it may be a win for others ... just not for this girl. 
I have to say that I'm kind of disappointed with the way this review turned out... but I think my family needs to take some of the blame. One of my big issues is the number of entrees on this menu. There are so many different choices that I think the restaurant set themselves up for failure. I can tell from my asparagus soup that there are definitely some hidden gems in this menu, and I think this was a case of poor ordering. If I were to do it again I would love to go back and try the pot pie, and perhaps the potato wrapped cod, and maybe even the lamb. I think that this restaurant has some amazing things on the menu (my dad insists because he's gone there for lunch on several occasions and loved it) and I would like to dine here again before I completely write them off. 

The real highlight of the night was probably the fact that there was a wedding going on at the same time, so the drunken characters that ended up in the bathroom were pretty entertaining. All and all it was just great spending time with my family, and although the food didn't quite live up to my expectations, the conversation and good times did. 

On a side note, at the end of the meal we were informed by our waitress that for every meal we ate tonight, they would be donating a meal to the regional food bank. I think that is more than enough of a reason to enjoy a meal at The Century House. 

Century House Restaurant on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure no matter how long you waited for your mom to come out of the car, it had been worth it because of the sumptuous dishes in this restaurant. The big lobster is to die for! I thik I'll ask Long Island catering halls to prepare that on my wedding day.