The Frugal Forager: All aboard for a delightful meal at State Street Station

Sunday, October 30, 2011
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State Street Station

WHERE: 1579 State St., Schenectady. Phone 382-8383

WHEN: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Saturday; 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; and 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

HOW MUCH: $29.25, with two sodas, tax, and tip.

MORE INFO: Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, Discover. Children’s menu. Not wheelchair-accessible. Off-street parking. www.statestreetstation1579.com

— State Street Station is a small, family-owned restaurant with a menu like a diner’s, a homey atmosphere and friendly service. It’s charming, and the food is very good.

With a cozy railroad car-sized dining room, only eight tables and a short counter with five round-topped stools, The Station is cheerful and bright, with windows on two walls, and what’s painted is white and sage green. “It’s spotless,” said husband Eric, eyeing the Lionel train set up on a narrow ledge that ran around the room. “0–27 guage,” he said, “just like mine.” There was a pile of newspapers, we were happy to see. I picked up a section of the Gazette from the counter; Eric took the competition.

State Street Station likes kids; you can tell from the Halloween decorations and the proudly displayed coloring sheets. “This is going right up on the wall,” one server told a delighted little girl who had colored in a choo-choo train.

Service couldn’t be friendlier or more helpful. Our server sang to the oldies on WTRY and kept up a lively patter with the customers, addressing many by name. We could have whatever we wanted, even if it was a bit off the menu. “No problem,” she said.

Weeknight specials

The specials made me wish we’d come on a weeknight. They’re open three nights for dinner: Wednesday is Polish night, with pierogi, kielbasa and golompki; Thursdays it’s German schnitzel and sauerbraten; Friday and Saturday it’s fish and Italian. Prices are very friendly.

We had trouble choosing. There were daily specials like goulash and chicken Parm and a shrimp omelet in addition to the extensive list of railroad-themed sandwiches and burgers on the regular menu. Their breakfast menu is comprehensive. Eric asked for a Buffalo chicken sandwich made into a wrap ($7.95 including fries), and I chose the clam roll with fries ($8.95).

The server pulled our sodas ($1.85 for 20 ounces) from a Coca-Cola cooler, and added straws and tall plastic glasses filled with ice. We watched as oversized white plates loaded with steaming eggs and bacon and buttered toast went past, then overstuffed sandwiches, and platters of hot dogs with big piles of fluffy potato chips. “Ding!” went the kitchen bell: It was our turn.

The improvised chicken wrap was excellent, said Eric. There were chunks of grilled moist chicken breast, delicious bleu cheese, lettuce and tomato, all in wing sauce. There was a mountain of fries nearby. Wing sauce oozed onto the plate, but the wrap never had a chance to unravel. French fries at State Street are browned rather than crisp, but very tasty.

I recommend the clam roll. The clams are tender as can be, and they are fried a perfect golden brown. The fries benefitted from a shower of salt, and I happily dunked them in ketchup until I was full. The hot dog roll was neglected, passed by for tasty clams and fries. The coleslaw tasted homemade.

The train got fired up for the benefit of some children. “I’m glad I didn’t have to ask them myself,” said Eric as he watched the cars roll by.

The server promptly ran my card, and the tab, with tax, two sodas, and tip, came to $29.25. Support this delightful, locally owned restaurant for better-than-fast food, and friendlier service. And if you ask, they’ll fire up the train.

 

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