EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was edited to correct the name of Chef de Cuisine Vincent Pierre.
On a cold winter night, we sought refuge — and something to warm our innards — at Joe’s Tavern, an unpretentious neighborhood place whose food came highly recommended to us by one of our readers.
I was under the weather (do people still get the ague?), so we didn’t stay as long as we might have under other circumstances, but certainly long enough to get an idea of what the food is like. We were pleased with everything, from the appetizers to the entrées, though I can’t tell you about dessert because we weren’t there long enough.
Joe’s is under the new ownership of Michael Fortin, who acts as general manager and one of the chefs, along with Vincent Pierre, the chef de cuisine.
The menu is not extensive, but there are nightly entrées and appetizer specials and we had no difficulty finding something to entice us.
Our young server, Lindsay, proved friendly and knowledgeable about the food, which we appreciated. As you might expect at a tavern, there’s a full-service bar where you can get a glass of pinot noir for $4.50 and, on special nights, draft beer that’s $1 off.
WHERE: 16 Division St., Cohoes. 235-6555, www.joestaverncohoes.com
WHEN: 4-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 4-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday
OTHER INFO: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover accepted; kid friendly
On this particular evening, a couple of nights after New Year’s Eve, the specials included Pork Osso Bucco, Surf and Turf and a French Dip Sandwich.
There was an appetizer special ($12.95) consisting of Risotto Balls in a remoulade, a shrimp cocktail with horseradish-spiced sauce and bruschetta — golden toast points smeared with freshly chopped tomatoes and olive oil, among other things. Beverly, who likes spicy food, declared the shrimp cocktail sauce “sturdy, bordering on explosive,” and professed her love.
The risotto balls were delicious, crispy on the outside and stuffed with bits of cheese and savory prosciutto — or was it pancetta? — amid the creamy rice.
GOOEY GARLIC KNOTS
We also tried the garlic knots ($4.30), which had received a rave view from our tipster, and we were most pleased. The savory knots of dough were warm, gooey and garlicky, and there was marinara sauce for dipping, but I found that totally superfluous.
For her entrée, Beverly chose the Pork Osso Bucco ($18.35), a beautiful shank that glistened like freshly shellacked mahogany. It was served over mashed potatoes with lightly sautéed baby spinach. She doesn’t ordinarily eat mashed potatoes, she noted, “but these were exquisite.” Lindsay explained that they were mashed with cream cheese, which can’t be a bad thing, and Beverly pointed out “little pools of butter peeking out from the junction of the potatoes and the . . . spinach.”
I chose the Zuppa di Pesci ($18.35) for my entrée and was impressed by the generous mound of seafood — shrimp, clams and larger scallops — served in a spicy sauce over freshly cooked linguine. Someone went a little heavy on the oregano, but other than that, no complaints here.
Our tab for two substantial appetizers and two entrées came to $69.27 with tax and tip. Before we left, we promised ourselves we’d return to Joe’s on an evening when my appetite is restored.
We discovered that the appetizers are substantial enough to serve as a meal if you don’t have a trencherman’s inclinations. The stuffed mushrooms, for example, feature six sausage- and red pepper-stuffed mushrooms with Parmesan and Romano. You can also get a traditional antipasto in a balsamic reduction or pan-seared lump crab cakes with spicy remoulade and a petite strawberry field green salad.
There are specialty sandwiches, like the Tuscan, featuring turkey with roasted peppers, Provolone, lettuce, tomato and pesto mayonnaise, and several salad choices and house-made soup.
And you can get a variety of pizza, subs and torpedoes and prodigious meatball calzones.
Dinner possibilities include Chicken Tortorella, which is sausage, roasted red peppers and Marsala over linguine, Chicken or Veal Parmesan or Veal and Peppers.
If you want red meat, there’s a 14-ounce ribeye steak and a Tuscan Fillet that’s 7 ounces, sliced and served with a caramelized onion, mushroom and roasted pepper risotto and finished with a blue cheese and cream reduction.
Sometimes your GPS can lead you astray. Such was the case when we told ours to direct us to Joe’s Tavern in Cohoes. It turned out there are two Division streets with Cohoes postal addresses. The good news is that the two are only five minutes apart so it wasn’t a big deal, but a word of advice: Choose the right address when your GPS displays the options.