Bomber’s Burrito Bar
WHERE: 447 State St., Schenectady. Telephone: 374-3548, www.BombersBurritoBar.com
WHEN: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday.
OTHER INFO: Handicapped accessible with elevator. All major credit cards.
Bomber’s Burrito Bar on State Street is popular with the college set and twentysomethings, so when we decided to drop in for a bite on a Monday night we weren’t expecting a quiet, intimate meal, but I was hopeful the food would prove to be worth the adventure.
Bomber’s is definitely a youth-oriented place, brash and boisterous, with music cranking from the jukebox, lots of colorful banners advertising various beverages, loud chatter and big-screen TVs broadcasting a Yankees-Red Sox game. (The Yankees were ahead when we arrived, and I took that as a good omen.)
The booths along the outside wall were filled, and our server seated us at a table with stools off from the bar on the second floor. The bar offers all kinds of frozen margaritas, 16 kinds of draft beer and 30 varieties of bottled beer, the menu says, so if you’re looking to slake your thirst, this might be a good place to visit. (At least two people were celebrating personal milestones, sipping on straws from what looked to be galvanized buckets full of margaritas, the house beverage for birthday boys and girls.)
As the name suggests, Bomber’s Burrito Bar specializes in Americanized versions of Mexican food — burritos, tacos, quesadillas, nachos and Caribbean jerk pork and chicken, as well as wraps and a lot of munchies like six varieties of french fries, jalapeño poppers and mini tacos.
Service is friendly enough, but it took us about 40 minutes to get our food, which is a long time to wait when you arrive hungry. We’d ordered chicken wings — medium heat — reasonably priced at $5.99 a dozen on Monday, which is Wing Night. (They’re $7.99 per dozen on other nights.)
Bomber’s places high in customer-judged ratings of various chicken wing venues. I found them tasty, but not remarkable or distinctive in any way from wings I’ve had elsewhere. The blue cheese dressing, which is Bomber’s own, was a cut above, and the celery sticks were cold and crispy, as they should be.
We’d only just started munching on the wings when our entrees arrived, with our server apologizing for delivering them so soon after bringing out the wings.
I had looked for something interesting among the “Big Burritos” section of the menu and decided to try the Gravy and Chicken Burrito ($7.99), a massive concoction of rice, beans, cheese, gravy, white shredded chicken meat and lettuce encased in a 12-inch-long flour burrito that had to weigh at least a pound. It was far too much to eat in one sitting, but was very flavorful and reminded me of the KFC bowls with mashed potatoes, chicken, gravy and corn all mixed together in one dish.
While it seems like an odd mish-mash, the taste is surprisingly good. The burrito came with tortilla chips and a salsa that could have used a little heat.
Dinner mate Beverly chose the Jamaican Jerk Pork Plate ($7.99), which the menu describes as lean pork slowly baked for six hours in Jamaican jerk seasonings, Red Stripe beer, green chiles and other spices. It is served with black beans, rice and sides of sour cream and salsa. The pork, while flavorful, had been off the heat a while by the time it made it to our table, and the black beans needed more flavor. I suggested that the pork be sent back to be reheated, but we didn’t do so out of concern about how long that might take.
We took about half of everything we ordered home with us because the portions are large enough for two in most instances.
Our tab for chicken wings, drinks and two entrees came to $29 with tax and tip. Bomber’s burritos cost more than you might expect, but not when you consider their epic size. You can make a meal out of them, with choices ranging from vegetarian or barbecued tofu to ground beef, barbecued chicken and “Red Stripe” Jerk Pork.
There is a similar array of choices for tacos, and there are 12-inch flour tortilla wraps containing such choices as Buffalo chicken, blue cheese crumbles and Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese, tomatoes and lettuce or, in the Cowboy Wrap, smoky chicken and spicy Rodeo Wing Sauce, Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses, bacon bits, tomatoes, jalapenos and lettuce.
Bomber’s also has its own Texas Chili and a Vegetarian Red Chili. For those who want to sample a little of everything, there’s the Appetizer Platter at around $15 — a half-dozen each of wings, mini tacos, Fire Red Mini Tacos, taquitos and three jalapeno poppers, served with sides of sour cream and salsa.
As we were leaving, we noted the elevator near our table and decided to take it back to the ground floor. When we got inside, our noses alerted us to the big bag of aromatic garbage riding with us, and it was clear from the smell that it had been in there for a while. It’s not a good way to impress patrons on their way out of your place.
Bomber’s Burrito Bar in Schenectady is one of three outlets owned and operated by entrepreneur Matt Baumgartner, a Union College graduate who doesn’t cook personally but clearly does know how to successfully woo young restaurant patrons. The original Bomber’s is on Lark Street in Albany. His newest enterprise is Wolff’s Biergarten at the former Noche site on Broadway in Albany.