A Restaurant Review: The Balkan

by Joanne on August 2, 2009

We had intended to dine at The Celtic Harp however plans change and we ended up at the restuarant on Genesee Street called The Balkan. 


Ted pointed out that the other side of the restaurant is called The Hadley.  In an earlier post, on a Thursday evening, I said we had eaten at The Balkan. In fact, we had eaten at The Hadley.  Confused yet?  This is how it works.  You can eat on either side of the restaurant:

The Balkan

The Balkan


However, you must order off the menu dedicated to that side. So you cannot sit in the Balkan and order off the Hadley

The Hadley
The Hadley

menu.  What Ted and I did was to sit outside and order off the Balkan menu and that way we were able to enjoy the piano player.  It was a nice evening and perfect for outdoor dining.

First up was something I have never had before and would never think of:   A cottage cheese spread for the bread. It was wonderful!  Not sweet but savory. Not sour but creamy. Flavorful and perfect with the dry grain bread.
I had a glass of Talus Pinot Grigio and Ted tried a new beer for him, Ommegang.  It is a beer from Cooperstown, NY.  Described as “rich, fruity, and aromatic, burgundian ale.”   He enjoyed it.  It was a bit too strong for me, but then I’m not a beer drinker (only a frequent taster).
One of the specials of the evening was a dozen steamers.  We went for it:
DSCN1732The clams were hot and delicious. Butter on the side for those who indulge.  I was able to snag 3 of them before the infamous disappearing act that so often occurs around Ted and food.
A crisp, fresh salad with oil and vinegar:
Now dinner was limited for me.  It seems that this restaurant, whether it be The Hadley (after looking over the menu) or The Balkan, cater to the meat eater.  While there was one fish dish offered on the menu and the entree special was soft shell crab (breaded), there wasn’t much else. I suspect that the feature vegetable of the night, mashed rutabaga, parsnips,etc. was cooked with some bacon or other animal fat. Not sure… I don’t mean to accuse…just suspicious.   The dinners were good but not five star.  Ted did however enjoy his Osso Bucco and look at the prices!…..
DSCN1723Osso Bucco: Tender pork shank, served with rich gravy, $10.95…where can you get that dish for THAT price?!
Osso Bucco
Osso Bucco

My dinner was the Fresh Haddock pan seared and finished with butter, $11.95. I asked that they skip the butter.

I ended up taking all the breading off the fish. I prefer it “virgin” rather than hidden in breading.
For a decent dinner with better than reasonable pricing, try The Balkan and take a peak at The Hadley menu.  For nice atmosphere on either side, visit this cute little duet on Genesee St. in Utica.
On another note, I tried something new today:  Brown Cow Greek Style Yogurt, vanilla.  Wow! Great! Try it! What can I say?!  A really good yogurt and it’s about the same in nutritional values as Fage, or Oikos.  Super find!
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