If you’re a regular at the Glenville Queen and you don’t show up for a while, you’re going to get a phone call.
“I call to make sure they are all right,” said Daniel Juarez, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Christina. They took over a little more than a year ago, an easy transition because he was already working there and knew many of the customers. They live two blocks away and their family is a part of this nice, small community.
The mostly brick, majestic Glenville Queen is on Route 50, surrounded by acres of parking. They need it. The place was packed at around noon on a Sunday, with a line of folks waiting for seats. We used the time to scope out the place and the big, lighted revolving display of awesome-looking desserts.
Don’t worry about getting a booth: There are rows and rows of them, and they’re roomy and upholstered — just right. Plate-glass windows make it bright, Tiffany-style lamps add cheer. We watched as a group of very polite airmen headed to a large table in another room, this one with greenhouse windows. There’s a real diner counter with real diner stools.
It checks the upscale diner boxes: full bar; steaks and chops; shrimp cocktail; fancy desserts. And it’s got the standard breakfast all day and bottomless coffee and everything else you’d expect to find in a diner, including the menu, which is endless.
Once seated, we got drinks right away, bottomless hot coffee for Sheryl ($2.09) and diet Pepsi for me ($2.49, with one refill). Our orders were taken promptly, and we watched as the table with the airmen got bigger and bigger. There can be more than 20 of them at a time, Juarez told me.
Sheryl had breakfast, eggs Benedict ($8.99), the classic poached eggs on an English muffin with ham and Hollandaise sauce. They looked perfect, and the balance of the plate was filled with delicious-looking home fries.
“The ham is really good,” said Sheryl. It looked like it had been sliced from a real cooked ham you’d make at home. “So is the sauce.” I watched the yolk run into the yellow sauce; the eggs were poached perfectly.
I was having lunch, and already looking at the soup and salad I’d ordered to go with the beef stir-fry ($15.49) special. There are 16 different dinner specials to choose from every day, each on a separate card tucked into pages of plastic pockets in the menu. They start at $12.99 and go to $21.99 for the prime rib and shrimp scampi at the high end. Each meal comes with three sides: Choose from lots. Salad counts for two.
Who could pass up homemade chicken cordon bleu soup? Not me. It was creamy, and salty, but in a really good way. There were bits of tender white meat chicken and ham, carrots and onion, all cut small enough so you could fit several things on your spoon at the same time. It was so good I stopped eating it — it was setting off diet alarm bells.
Glenville Queen gets points for its side salad, which goes way beyond what’s necessary. Thinly sliced radish was welcome for its color and bite, and tiny bits of celery were in there, too, along with the usual small tomato and cucumber slices. I liked the greens, which included mesclun mix and a variety of lettuces. This salad was worth two sides.
Meantime, Sheryl had discovered the home fries weren’t really warm, and she might have liked some veggies and more seasoning along with the potatoes.
My beef stir-fry arrived, and it had cute tiny corn cobs and sliced water chestnuts, which I haven’t seen in forever. It looked like they used frozen vegetables, which is fine, except that they had been stir-fried a bit too long. The snow peas were not a cheerful green, and the sliced beef had suffered the same fate. It was tasty, but a bit past its best.
Though the Glenville Queen was loaded with staff, all busy and bustling here and there, our own service came to a halt. Our plates sat uncleared for a very long time. Finally, our server stopped, carrying a full tray and explained that he would return soon, which, in turn, let the food on the tray cool. Something was out of whack.
At no time was the restaurant without a line of folks, some in their church clothes, waiting to come in. They were spilling into the aisle near us. The Glenville Queen has plenty of fans, so I expect our poor service was an aberration. We hate to draw conclusions based on one unannounced visit, and it’s really hit or miss. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt.
An apology goes a long way, and Juarez gave one right away. They were short-staffed that day. He said, “I feel comfortable saying that it was an isolated incident.”
The Glenville Queen does all its baking on premises. The cheesecake ($5.48 with topping) is fluffy and sweet, creamy and delicious, with the flavor of a sugar cookie. A little different but nice. I had it served the proper way, with canned cherries spooned over.
The server, now alert to a problem, ran my card right away and packed us up. The tab for our meal came to $34.54 before tax and tip. I had a bag of leftovers for the next day.
The airmen have less than an hour to eat. Juarez and his wife make sure they get their food and back to Stratton Air Base in plenty of time. If the Glenville Queen is good enough for them to go in packs, then I’ll go back again.
Glenville Queen Family Restaurant
WHERE: 210 Saratoga Road (Route 50),
Glenville; 518-399-3244; glenvillequeen.com
WHEN: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m daily
HOW MUCH: $34.54 before tax and tip
MORE INFO: Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa,
Discover. Children’s menu. ADA compliant. Plenty