Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cella Bistro lunch

One of my favorite parts of a week off from school is the opportunity to sample dining options at other times left unexplored.  There are so many places that I'm interested in trying, all within 25 or 30 miles, that I could probably schedule a Dining Staycation quarterly without exhausting anything other than my American Express card. The recent February break provided the perfect chance to try something new - and talk about perfect timing, Cella Bistro is now serving lunch.  Next stop: Schenectady! 

I've been to Cella Bistro once before, back in December when they were doing a limited Sunday service for the holidays.  We got in on their Italian night which was fantastic, as well as a great value. If this place was a bit closer, believe me, I'd  definitely be here with greater frequency.  The lunch menu hadn't been available to peruse prior to our visit because the chef-owner, Michael Cella hadn't made his "final" decisions until that very morning.  No worries - when you're dealing with a chef as inspired and creative as Michael Cella, the hardest choice was making a choice.  Here's what we went with: 
Roasted Red Pepper soup - bursting with color and flavor - piping hot, light and satisfying.

Bibb lettuce salad with lemon vinaigrette - tender and crisp simultaneously

An order of delicious fries dunked in aioli naturally

A sliced duck sandwich with aioli, sauteed mushrooms,  cheese,  caramelized onions
Reuben of housemade pastrami, cole slaw, cheese, 1000 island dressing on grilled rye bread. 
Bonus: A housemade pickle!!

Check out this mound of pastrami!!  Housemade Corned Beef was also available

Housemade Apricot cello
A couple of additional items worth mentioning; they have a very pleasing selection of beverages.  In addition to their homemade cellos, there was a nice variety of beers from which to choose.  We went with the Ommegang Rare Vos and couldn't have been happier.  Desserts were kind of weak, particularly for their first day's service, but we had a delicious bowl of Haagen Daz vanilla ice cream which was perfect with my glass of cello.  Lunch was somewhere in the $70 range, but you could certainly be more than satisfied for less than we spent.  It was vacation, though and Cella Bistro was the perfect spot to get away without really going away. 

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