Three delicious new quick-service restaurants in Albany

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You can see it and you can surely feel the long-lacking energy in downtown Albany. The capital’s collaboration with local artists has brought up walls with colorful murals, and the ongoing redevelopment has new dining options overlooking the Times Union Center on South Pearl Street and filling the storefronts in the frame. from the Kenmore complex on North Pearl. The vegan Wizard Burger spot has new neighbors with the arrival of the Banh Mi 47, and signs in the bay windows announce the opening of a Skinny Pancakes creperie.

What is clear is that Albany reflects the nationwide rise of single-dish restaurants, small businesses focused on one main thing, usually with variations on a theme and complementary options to complement a meal. Usually quick in the business model, mostly built around online ordering, some with dining seating and a few that would warrant a full review, they collectively make life a little more delicious and a lot more accessible. Here are three to know:

Ballistic shrimp

In its prime location across from the Times Union Center, Ballistic Shrimp is ready to deliver us from a cold winter in Albany with steaming clam chowder and fish fry that prioritizes the seasoning of its haddock fillets. on a thick and rocky dough. And that’s what I’m here for. Ballistic tailed shrimp are meaty bites, and knowing that fries don’t travel well, you can choose sides ranging from corn on the cob to rice or plantain tostones. A long, shiny counter with underwired LED lighting makes it feel like both a bar and a dinner party if you’re up against the fries action, but Ballistic Shrimp is all about fast and casual dining, offering tuna fondants, fried fish sandwiches and popcorn shrimp for dinner or take out to go. And that’s not all: Specials for crab mac and cheese, shrimp quesadillas and soup of the day are pinned to the counter in handwritten notes.

Unsurprisingly, it’s an imitation of grated crab in gooey, crumb-topped mac and cheese, and the clam chowder is dense with potatoes and a cream base as thick as a condensed soup, but it’s loaded with dill and chopped clams, served piping hot and will quell your comfort food craving on an office budget. Either way, a whole pound of snow crab legs with one side only costs $ 35 (and I’m saying “only” assuming you know the considerably higher supermarket prices). Lobster tails (four pieces) and one side cost $ 36; surf and turf, $ 42 for the market. There’s a good chance you’ll order to go, but the large counter means it’s safe to spread out. There is currently a call for a monthly art exhibition: local artists are taking note.

Address: 51 S. Pearl St., Albany
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, closed on weekends
Prices: Lunch specials, $ 8 to $ 14; appetizers, $ 7 to $ 14; sides, $ 3 to $ 4; combined fish and seafood meal, $ 9.50 at a shareable offer for $ 69
Info: 518-599-0792 and ballisticshrimp.com

Banh Mi 47

Siena alumni Mike and Stacy Nguyen, a little store called Banh Mi 47 saves us densely breaded torpedo and submarine sandwiches with their house baguette for their Vietnamese banh mi. One bite and the crispy outer shell audibly crashes down to the airy crumb, which is, they tell me, “50 percent lighter than other breads.”

It is this impossible lightness, in layers of silky pork sausage and creamy pâté (cha lua paté), grilled beef marinated in green onion oil, (bo nuong), meatballs (xiu mai) lemongrass chicken or tofu (ga nuong sa or dau hu chien sa), it will make you want more. Wrapped with cilantro, lightly pickled cucumber, carrot, daikon, sliced ​​peppers (an option you should say yes to) and coated in Kewpie mayo sauce or Maggi seasoning, every bite is a riot of flavors which triggers the taste memory of fresh herbs and chili paste on Vietnamese pho. Don’t skimp on the thinly sliced ​​jalapenos – the heat brings out the sweetness of the marinated beef and the consistency of the smooth pâté. Supply chain issues mean they run out of impossible pork, for now, but the lemongrass fried tofu is obvious. You can also double veg or meat, for a fee.

Banh mi (“banh” means “baked goods”) are a staple in Vietnam, sometimes dipped in sweetened condensed milk. Although it’s not on the menu, you can order Vietnamese coffee made with Nguyen Coffee True Grit coffee beans and condensed milk (they use the standard longevity brand, “Sua Ong Tho” as it is called in Japan. Vietnam), available iced or hot. There is also boba tea in about ten flavors and the pie the size of a palm, a puff pastry filled with firm sausage meat, like a round sausage roll. Order online, from the QR code on the door or at the counter inside where two tables await you, or you can display your banh mi on two tops in the store’s raised display – which is fine since Banh Mi 47 pulls its name from the Saigon address of a pho store above which Mike Nguyen’s family lives. Having perfected the homemade banh mi, we can only hope that they will add some pho one day.

Address: 74 N. Pearl St., Albany
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday.
Prices: Banh mi, $ 7.40 to $ 8.34; boba teas, ($ 3.70 to $ 4.62); coffee / drinks, $ 1.50 to $ 3.50
Info: 518-512-9762 and banhmi47.com

Herbie Burgers

The spirits behind the now-closed Post Wine Bar brought Herbie’s Burgers to life on Lark Street in the crisp yellow of a classic 1950s restaurant mixed with the cheesy burger charm of Herbie’s brand. A two-way menu features mashed, grass-fed beef burgers (the beef straight from a Claverack farm) and dairy-based milkshakes, while plant-based, home-made patties and vegan, are mildly spicy, a bit salty in soy sauce and packed with a staggering list of vegetables, brown rice, and cashews.

The only real question is how many patties you plan on stacking. Inside the brick and mortar storefront, the menu mentions single and double rooms, but look online and there’s a triple floor and The Herbfather, loaded with four patties and stuffed with fries ($ 16.75 ). Whatever you choose, the flavor profile closely mimics the old McDonald’s song, “beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and…” – there are no onions. Instead, add in the homemade onion jam, an addicting, sweet, sticky, caramelized onion reduction that enhances the flavor.


The Herbie’s team surely watched the sloppy, loaded fries coming out of the ghost kitchen chains Flavortown and Mr. Beast and decided to do better: their hand-cut fries are slathered with cheese, onions and gravy. nerdy special from Herbie, or order them direct.

Milkshakes, both dairy and vegan, are thick and creamy. Fountain soda features lemon and Maine lime and sarsaparilla. Lark Street has never had anything like it. And it’s open until 2 a.m. to feed the bar crowd. The convenience of online ordering and delivery doesn’t just mean you can beat regular traffic. That means Herbie’s is the burger restaurant to beat.

Address: 196 Lark Street, Albany
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day
Prices: Single and double burgers, $ 4.95 to $ 6.50; fries, $ 2.95 to $ 4.95; shakes, $ 5.95 to $ 6.95; soft drinks, $ 2 to $ 2.50
Info: 518-776-4005 and herbiesburgers.com


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