If you’re familiar with Utica from years ago, you remember The Alpine Restaurant where you had to wait for your dinner but when it finally arrived, it was absolute perfection. Old time Italian with Frank Sinatra always playing over the sound system. Well now the same old place is open again. A different chef but same decor. No Sinatra in your ear but maybe it could be requested….?
Ambassador Restaurant (ask for Phidel)
537 Albany St.
Utica, NY 13501
It’s called the Ambassador.
After a drink at the bar, chatting with two regulars, we sat in our favorite room by the fire place, just off the lounge area.
Although it wasn’t decorated for the holidays quite the way Alpine used to do it, it was very festive. Stockings hung by the fire.
Service was excellent and immediate.
We started with the calamari which was good but not the best we’ve had. That favorite still goes to The Willows on Culver Ave.
Calamari served with marinara sauce for dipping.
The bread was very good but the salad was …well, cheap. It was all iceberg lettuce. Ted and I like more dark green in our salads. We didn’t have the house dressing but satisfied our taste with oil and balsamic, blue cheese crumbles on the side.
Dinner: Ted entertained the Pork Osso Bucco. He said it was good but too saucy. As you can see, there is a lot of sauce which is a shame if the restaurant uses a good piece of meat since the sauce only covers up natural flavor.
It was surrounded with oven roast potatoes.
I had the Salmon Ambassador. This was a large cut of salmon topped with mozzarella cheese in a balsamic glaze.
The mozzarella did nothing for this dish. Yet the salmon was good, cooked to perfection and the side of steamed, mixed vegetables were also perfect: not over cooked, not undercooked, no sneaky seasoning, just basic, natural vegetables.
Will we re-visit the Ambassador? Most likely we will. It is within 2 miles of our home. It was a meal that was good but simply a poor choice of flavorings/ sauces.. then again, we all have our own style. Our meals were presented as the preference of this particular chef’. We enjoyed the atmosphere and will try again, although different entrees.
As I said, the service, excellent. The owner invited us to a drink on him. Declined. We already had a glass of wine each and working on sharing another. Next time… Phidel… that is the owner. According to a regular at the bar, that is how to pronounce his name “locally” although there is some accent on some syllables that are lost to this language challenged person.
Have you eaten at any new restaurants lately?