Sunday, September 17, 2006

Katie O'Byrne's Pub - Schenectady, NY

This restaurant intrigued us, as we support any establishment willing to open its doors in downtown Schenectady. The format is fairly standard, with a dedicated bar area, and a separate dining room. Televisions are mounted throughout the establishment, for sports enthusiasts, no doubt. The furniture is new, and the environment is open, due to the presence of large store front windows on two sides of the business. This affords one a splendid view of beautiful Erie boulevard, and the world-renowned Schenectady AMTRAK station.

We arrived at 6PM on a Sunday evening, looking forward to the place's promise of good (Irish) food and drink. While we opted for water to drink, we were looking forward to the Irish Reuben(hot corned beef sandwich). The menu also features a number of appetizers, some cold sandwiches, and hamburgers, with a variety of fried sides.

To our dismay, our cheerful waitress informed us that, since this was Sunday evening, only cold sandwiches and hamburgers would be available. This was due to the grill being shut down. Strangely enough, we could still get hot wings (which I did order), just not a Reuben. Beer, though, can still be had on a Sunday. We chose not to attempt to understand this rationale, and we ordered: my wife got a roast beef sandwich, and I opted for a corned beef sandwich, both with sweet potato fries.

As I mentioned earlier, we were looking for a satisfying meal, and in terms of quantity, this might have qualified. After a significant wait (or so it seemed), the waitress returned with wings and blue cheese. While these were meant to be hot, they were mostly just mild (all thighs?). The sandwiches arrived shortly afterwards, and they, too, were pretty bland. But large. We wound up eating half, and taking the rest home. I'll see if I can bring myself to eat it tomorrow for dinner.

In a nutshell: we might come back on a non-Sunday to try out the hot corned beef, but your best bet is probably to skip the food (OK, try some appetizers) and stick to the beer...


My wife and I have been living in the New York capital region for about a decade now. Since we're often busy (and to some extent lazy), we typically dine out several times a week. During the course of these excursions, we've often discussed how much fun it would be to write a restaurant criticism column for a local newspaper, as in our opinion, this area is in sore need of non-sycophantic food criticism. Since this isn't likely to happen anytime soon, we hit upon the idea of creating a blog. We have quite a backlog of places and experiences to relate, starting with tonight's outing.

While I do not profess to have the necessary credentials to be a food critic (what are those, anyway? a bachelor's in food preparation?), I can appreciate a well-turned out meal in a professionally run restaurant. So here are my thoughts on places we've been. Bear in ming, these are just my opinions, and are not intended as slander.

The name of this blog comes from a term we coined describing early dinner (not to be confused with late breakfast, or brunch).