Marino’s Pizza & Restaurant
WHERE: 1301 State St., Schenectady; 346-6992.
WHEN: 3-11 p.m. Sunday; 4 p.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday; 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday.
OTHER INFO: Credit cards not accepted.
COST: $27.50 (before tax and tip)
We’d heard good things about the pizza at Marino’s Pizza & Restaurant on State Street and went for dinner recently to find out for ourselves. We weren’t disappointed.
The place does a lot of takeout business, but you can also eat in their homey little dining room as well as at a couple of tables in the front pickup area.
The pizza was nostalgic for me — the kind you found in your favorite pie place before the thick bread-type crusts with cheese stuffing came into vogue. Marino’s crust is thin, crisp and savory, which is how I like it.
Marino’s, referred to in some of its advertising as “Marino’s Flying Pizza,” is popular with a lot of city residents, as evidenced by the crowded dining room when we arrived around 7 p.m. Our server, Melissa, told us it wasn’t a particularly busy night, but you could have fooled us. By 8 p.m., the dining room crowd had dwindled considerably, but as we took our leave a little later, more patrons were arriving.
Service was efficient and friendly, starting with delivery of a basket of Italian bread with butter. It was above average bread and was toasty warm upon arrival.
The menu specified that the small antipasto ($7.25) served two, so we chose that. If you were having only antipasto, dinner date Beverly observed, the salad would make a generous meal for one but since we also wanted pizza, it was more than adequate for two.
Besides fresh iceberg lettuce and tomatoes, the salad included at least two kinds of cheeses, salami and ham, onions and black olives as well as spicy pepperoncini, and it came with the house Italian dressing with a big decanter of dressing on the side in case we wanted more.
It was a great dressing, an appropriate mix of oil and vinegar with herbs, but we didn’t feel the need to add more. (The dressing was good enough, however, that I did feel the need to sop up some of it from my salad plate with the warm bread.)
We selected the six-cut pizza with some extra toppings for $14.25. I chose sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms, and the pie was generously studded with all three, along with abundant melted cheese. Marino’s six-cut pizza — 16 inches in diameter — is easily enough pizza for three. The slices are large, and we actually ate only one each, taking home the rest.
It was clear from the first bite that Marino’s knows something about pizza. The crust was crispy not only around the exterior edges but in the middle where sometimes pies are soggy. The sauce was a flavorful marinara, and the toppings, notably the mushrooms, were fresh and delicious.
Our overall positive experience prompted us to answer yes immediately when our server told us she hoped we’d be back again.
We decided to share a dessert — the house rice pudding for $2.50 — with coffee for me and espresso for Beverly.
One taste of the pudding and I was back in nostalgia land. It was creamy and sweet with lovely cinnamon accents and came topped with fresh whipped cream. It was good enough that, as I write this, I’m thinking next time I’m not sharing.
Our tab, before tax and tip, came to $27.50, which meant we went over our budget for a $29 and Under meal. Blame it on the pudding.
The ambiance at Marino’s is family-friendly and no-frills. This isn’t haute cuisine, but it’s reliably good food at reasonable prices, which certainly is a significant factor in the place’s popularity.
The table next to ours was occupied by a mother, father, three kids and a grandparent, and it was clear this wasn’t their first visit. They chatted amiably between bites as though sitting around the family table. (Marino’s has a lot of repeat customers. One of them told Beverly she’d been coming there for 20-odd years and loves the place and, more specifically, the food.)
The menu is not extensive, but there’s more than pizza available. Dinner entrees include Veal Cutlet Parmigiana or Chicken Francaise, each with spaghetti, ziti or linguini, for $12.95. The seafood section has eight possible choices ranging from baby clams served over pasta for $8.75 to the Seafood Special — clams, scallops, shrimp and mussels over pasta for $15.95, which was the most expensive item on the menu.
You can also order a hot sandwich — like Eggplant Parmigiana with sauce and mozzarella cheese ($6.75), meatballs with cheese and sauce ($5.75) or Boneless Chicken sautéed with peppers and onions and served with red or white sauce ($7.25).
Cold sandwiches come on a six-inch Italian sub roll with lettuce, tomato, onion and dressing and range from Italian Mix (ham, salami and provolone cheese) for $6.50 to a Genoa salami for $5.50.
Marino’s also serves draft and bottled beers as well as wine by the glass or carafe.
Guests at Chianti II Ristorante in Saratoga Springs will be able to designate 30 percent of their dinner bill on Oct. 12 to the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation.
“Twelve” is Chianti’s fundraising effort in behalf of local nonprofits, with a different beneficiary on the 12th of each month. The Preservation Foundation, October’s beneficiary, pushes for preserving and protecting the community’s architectural, cultural and landscape heritage.
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: Food, Life and Arts