One of the perks of living in Schenectady’s Stockade Historic District is being able to walk the two blocks to The Stockade Inn, a destination known for its good food and caring service in gracious surroundings.
I heard by the rampant Stockade grapevine that the Stockade Inn’s Sunday brunch had recently morphed from a buffet to an off-the-menu affair. Sister Janice recently spent the night with me and we decided to investigate the new format.
Host Chris led us to a round table in the corner of the spacious dining room, its size broken up by two centrally located large round banquettes. A fireplace kept the room cozy despite its high ceilings and 17 tables.
Server Melissa took our drink order (a Bloody Mary for Janice, a Virgin Mary for me) and announced the three specials: pork schnitzel with egg, biscuit and sausage gravy; lobster eggs Benedict; and a waffle with fresh fruit. Excellent coffee warmed us as we perused the menu.
The Stockade Inn
WHERE: 1 N. Church St., Schenectady, 346-3400, www.stockadeinn.com
WHEN: Dinner, 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; Sunday brunch, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., last seating 1:30
HOW MUCH: $46.86 with tax and tip but without alcoholic beverage
MORE INFO: Wheelchair accessible. Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover
I had enjoyed the buffet ($19.95) at least a dozen times, but it had become tired. Manager Jeff McDonald admitted the original set-up was also wasteful, so a new menu was devised. Melissa informed us that brunch/banquet chef Kathy Raffaele was also willing to prepare almost anything as long as she had the ingredients on hand.
The menu features six categories with several selections in each, and includes items for both breakfast and lunch.
If you crave breakfast, you can get huge pancakes ($7-10): plain, whole wheat, pineapple upside-down, or the chef’s special.
French toast ($10-13) is offered plain; Bananas Foster with fresh bananas, brown sugar and rum sauce; or stuffed with cheesecake and mixed berry compote.
Also available are eggs Benedict ($11-13): traditional, Florentine, smoked salmon (I’ve had this one and my only criticism is that there was too much salmon on the muffin), and the special of the week.
A Stockade omelet (bacon, onion, potatoes and cheese), and a build-your-own of three ingredients (asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, sausage, tomato, cheddar blend, Swiss, mozzarella, feta in addition to those in the Stockade version) are available for $10.
If you prefer lunch, you might order one of the Stockade Inn’s specialties: Turkey BLT ($9) is one of the perennial lounge favorites.
The stuffed potato browns ($11), filled with bacon, cream cheese, mushrooms and onion is topped with two eggs prepared any style.
Salad lovers can choose the lobster salad ($16) with a generous portion of butter-poached lobster, sundried peaches, toasted hazelnuts, and cranberry Stilton cheese, dressed with peach Frangelico vinaigrette. The black and blue salad ($15) will satisfy the meat lover: sliced flat iron steak cooked to the diner’s specification, roasted plum tomatoes, melted red onions, bleu cheese and fried onion strings.
The salmon papillote ($16) is a complete meal of fresh wild salmon in dill and lemon butter cooked in parchment paper, vegetables, and roasted potatoes. You can also order the more traditional Stockade Standard ($10): two eggs, sausage or bacon, toast and potato browns. Or steak and eggs ($15), or corned beef hash with two eggs ($13).
If you crave something lighter, yogurt, granola and fresh fruit are available for $11. The Inn also offers sides: bagels, bacon, house-made sausage, sliced fruit, potato browns, toast and orange juice.
But it was the specials that intrigued us: the lobster eggs Benedict for Janice and the pork schnitzel for me.
Our meals arrived as we were sipping our beverages and chatting. Quiet jazz filled the room, but the noise level was subdued enough to allow us to catch up on what was happening at home in Connecticut.
Janice was delighted with her eggs Benedict with lobster and spinach. Of the light cream sauce dressing the poached eggs and English muffin she proclaimed with a smile: “I don’t feel as if my arteries are going to harden immediately.”
My large piece of fork-tender, delicately breaded fried pork cutlet had been pounded into submission and topped with a creamy sausage milk gravy. The old-fashioned buttered biscuit was so light it almost had to be restrained. The schnitzel came with two slightly overcooked poached eggs and were for me superfluous.
Most orders arrive with a skewer of fresh fruit, browned potatoes prepared with diced sweet red peppers, onions, snipped chives, and melted cheese. Janice generally avoids potatoes, but there were none left on her plate at the end of the meal. Toast was also included. I recommend the whole grain.
Sunday brunch at the Stockade Inn — it’s another reason to praise this historical neighborhood.
The Stockade Inn is also an-18 room boutique hotel featuring live jazz in the lounge on Wednesday (6-9) and Thursday (7-10) evenings.