The chill of fall is finally here, and so is the chili.
Until last week, some local restaurants like Morrette's King Steak House in Schenectady held off from offering chili, saying it’s been too hot for customers to even think about chowing down on the dish.
But with the recent colder weather, the hearty stew is back on the menu. Here’s a look at some of the best places in the Capital Region to either enjoy it in-house or to pick it up when you don’t have the time (or patience) to cook:
Bombers Burrito Bar
The vegetarian version is warm with a good mix of white beans, black beans, squash, celery and onion. The chips that come with it (also homemade) are salty and strong enough to handle a full scoop of the chili. The portion size is pretty large and the spice level is warm, but not drink-a-dozen-glasses-of-water warm.
The chili con carne isn’t an average chili dish. Sure, it’s got the cream, chopped scallions, beef and beans. But the sides of rice and beans and tortilla chips make it more of a feast. It’s on the spicy side, with chopped jalapenos peppering the top.
Morrette’s King Steakhouse
The hearty mix of kidney beans, onions and pepper is chock-full of Morrette’s rib-eye steak. They used to serve it in a bread bowl, but locals said it was just too much food. Now they serve it with a kaiser roll and a side of cheddar cheese, for a lighter but still rich meal.
Brown’s Brewery Co., Troy Taproom
They’re not exaggerating when they say they serve a crock of turkey chili. The dish is loaded with kidney beans, meat, peppers, white beans, onions and topped with cheddar jack cheese. According to the brewers, it’s best served with Oatmeal Stout Brown Ale.
Their turkey chili dish is served in a relatively small portion, about the size of a small coffee. But with the side of funky-shaped bagel chips, the warm dish, replete with kidney beans and peppers, feels like more than a full meal.
Expect a side of sweetness with this dish. What would have been a typical bowl of chili, gets a touch of honey-like sweetness with the slice of hearty (and warm) cornbread.
The vegetarian version comes with no frills, just a few crackers. It’s loaded with onions, which makes for a sweeter taste at first, with a spicy aftertaste. The consistency is less of a stew-level thickness and more of a soup.
The chili con queso is one of the more complicated chili options on the list, with tortilla chips, jalapeno peppers, crema, and cheese. It’s messy, but the spicy dish is worth the cleanup. Best shared with friends.
The locally loved convenience store/gas station serves up chili that’s probably the easiest to get and the best bang for your buck. Lifting the lid of the metal pot, the steam coming from the chili pot smells spicy. But don’t let the scent fool you, it’s mostly sweet with a hint of warm pepper.
The Angus beef and kidney bean stew is your best bet if you need to stop in and grab something for the family. It’s got a spicy kick to it, but it’s well-rounded. Pairing it with a hearty bread will make a meal no one can walk away hungry from.