This is a view of just part of the collection of collectible liquor decanters on display at Stoney’s Irish Grill on Van Vranken Avenue in Schenectady. (BEVERLY M. ELANDER/FOR THE SUNDAY GAZETTE)
Stoney’s Irish Grill is a good place to grab lunch when time’s at a premium but you don’t want to eat at a fast-food place.
They serve real food that’s well prepared and reasonably priced, and besides the varied menu offerings there are daily soup, appetizer, lunch and dinner specials.
We happened to visit on the grill’s first Tuesday opening for lunch and were waited on by the longtime owners, Michael and Lorraine Bennett.
Two of the daily specials got our attention — the Reuben Soup ($3.50) for me and a liverwurst sandwich on rye bread ($6.50) for Beverly.
She ordered a garden salad ($2) with blue cheese dressing on the side, and it arrived with rolls and pats of butter.
Her sandwich was impressive — a big pile of fresh liverwurst with thin slices of red onion (what else) and a spicy house mustard. When she realized that the kitchen had left off her tomato and lettuce, she alerted Michael Bennett and it was promptly fixed.
Stoney’s Irish Grill
WHERE: 1859 Van Vranken Ave., Schenectady; telephone 382-9759
WHEN: Serving lunch and dinner starting at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday-Sunday; opening at 2 p.m. on Monday
OTHER INFO: All major credit cards accepted; handicapped accessible
The sandwich got a thumbs up from Beverly, and after taking a bite, I had to agree. As wursts go, this one was mild, but it was delicious, especially wrapped in the hot mustard. But as good as it was, it was too much to eat in one sitting, and half went home with us.
My Reuben Soup was a mixture of melted cheese, sauerkraut and corned beef in a creamy broth, and it was satisfyingly reminiscent of its sandwich namesake. It was also salty enough that I chose not to add the oyster crackers served with it.
For my own entrée, I chose the Grilled Chicken Salad ($8.50), which was a plateful of fresh greens, tomatoes, cucumber slices, black olives, roasted red peppers and a generous quantity of grilled chicken breast. My dressing choice was the house balsamic vinaigrette on the side, and it was a fine accompaniment to the smoky flavor of the grilled chicken. The salad also was accompanied by several slices of grilled garlic toast, which was a treat. If I had any complaint about the salad, it was that it was easily enough for two people, but that’s hardly a serious complaint.
Stoney’s Irish Grill — formerly known as Stoney Lane Tavern — has an expansive bar area with high-top tables in front and low tables in the rear, as well as sprightly umbrella tables in a patio area which is available for outdoor dining in good weather.
The Bennetts offer lunch all day long, but there is also a dinner menu and specials like prime rib au jus ($21.95), char-broiled strip steak with onion rings ($12); Chicken Française and Chicken Scallopine ($13.95) and Pork Angelina ($12.95).
Menu appetizers like Buffalo wings, jalapeno poppers and fried mushrooms are joined by daily specials like Shrimp Alexander, which is shrimp marinated with horseradish and Dijon mustard, wrapped in bacon and broiled and served over sautéed fresh spinach with garlic toast, or sauteed Oysters Buerre Blanc, which is fried oysters sautéed in a white wine cream sauce.
There are wraps, burgers, steak subs and chicken Parm subs, a Greek salad, and pub favorites like an open-faced hot roast beef sandwich — thinly sliced roast beef over toast points with beef gravy and french fries ($9), or the turkey version that includes cranberry sauce (also $9).
There is also a grilled ciabatta sandwich for vegetarians — porto bello mushroom, fresh mozzarella cheese, roasted red pepers, basil and balsamic dressing grilled on ciabatta bread and served with french fries or a side salad ($8).
White wines are available by the glass or in individual bottles, and there is a full-service bar.
Our tab — for soup, salad and lunch entrees and soft drinks came to $31.95 with tax and tip. The service was first-rate and friendly, and we agreed it’s a place we’ll visit again.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you enter Stoney’s Irish Grill is the lighted glass cases in the rear filled with a remarkable array of collectible liquor decanters, everything from a stout Beefeater guard to a giraffe family to Elvis at four different phases of his life. Owner Michael Bennett acquired the novelties from a collector and said the display represents only about half the actual collection. They’re fun to look at, but he says not so much fun when it’s time to dust.