Alto Cinco

Located on the oh-so-trendy Westcott street, is one of the coolest restaurants in Syracuse, Alto Cinco. The location itself makes this Southwest-dining palace pretty awesome. It lies at the heart of Syracuse’s booming hipster hipstersom, with a grungy movie theatre and concert hall to its right, and the perfectly–shady-its-charming pizza joint to its left. Along with the current businesses on the street, Westcott is historically know as an activist, progressive, neighborhood. Why shouldn’t the food on the street be the same?

I’ve been to Alto Cinco just about once a year, for the four years I’ve been in Syracuse. It’s not a tradition, but more of my obstinacy to sample Mexican food that was not made in the Southwest. I had previously lived in Southern California, so my standards for Mexican food are pretty high. It’s just not the real thing, and I know Mexican food before there even was an Alto Cinco! (The pot calls the kettle black: I guess I’m being a hipster now, too.) (more…)

Gino’s Original Cheese Steaks

On South Main Street in North Syracuse sits a little bit of downtown Philadelphia, PA.  Or at least, that’s what the folks at Gino’s Original Cheese Steaks would like us to believe.

Gino's original cheese steaks in North Syracuse, NY
Gino’s original cheese steaks in North Syracuse, NY

And here’s something that ticks me off: I’ve read a few comments online about how Gino’s (with an “i”) is a rip-off, and can not be affiliated with the place in Philly – which is Geno’s – with an “e.”  I’m sorry, but these people are morons.  I’ve never read or heard of them trying to pass off that they’re affiliated.  The names aren’t even spelled the same!  End of rant; now back to the review.

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La Taqueria

My girlfriend and I took some time to drive out Rt 31 along the lake.  I remembered there was a Mexican place somewhere out that way in Cicero, past the high school.  Guess what – there was!  We pulled in to the Lakeshore Heights Plaza and found a parking space in front of La Taqueria.

 

La Taqueria in Lakeshore Heights Plaza, Cicero New York
Storefront for La Taqueria in Lakeshore Heights Plaza, Cicero New York

La Taq as fans call it is just about in the middle of the plaza.  It’s not really Mexican.  They call it a Mexican Fusion Grill.  Which is totally cool!  Hello!  Tofu?  Spicy Ranch sauce?  Yes please!  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

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Texas Road House

Yes, it’s true – Texas Roadhouse is a chain.  Why review it?  Well, the first reason is because someone asked us to do it.  The second reason is because of what happens inside.  If you’re looking for a steakhouse, you might consider going there because it’s close by, easy to get to, has plenty of parking, and really. . . can they ruin every steak they serve?

_IGP2754Are there other steakhouses in Central New York?  Certainly!  But deciding whether TRH is worth going to – that’s what this review is all about.

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King David’s

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Middle Eastern
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: April 30, 2014

Tucked away in the Towne Center plaza where – a million years ago – Fayetteville Mall stood is the 2nd location for that Syracuse-based Middle Eastern delight, King David’s.  While this location has been open for a number of years, in the past couple several upmarket chain restaurants have opened within a stone’s throw.  Carrabba’s, Red Robin and Bonefish all have their good points, as evidenced by the throngs of people filling their seats.  But while we’ve been the last customers in the dining room at King David’s, we’ve never been there as the only customers.

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My wife and I went on a recent Tuesday evening.  We’re not there very often because it’s over an hour round trip form our place.  But every once in a while, we make the trek.  King David’s actually has two (two and a half?) dining areas.  As you walk in there door, there are a couple small tables to your right.  The prep and cooking area – I can’t really call it a kitchen – is to your right and open, so you can see what’s going on.  Walk past that, down a narrow hallway, and you enter the “main” dining area, with about 4 tables and eight or so booths.  There’s a doorway at the back, which leads into the enclosed mall.  There’s another seating area here, with about 40 or so seats.  They’ve got enough room for a lot of folks!

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Outback Steakhouse – New Hours

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Published on: April 19, 2014

While we don’t always cover chain restaurants, this is a dining review site.  That said, I was at the Outback Steakhouse off Rt 31 in Clay last night, and there were a number of changes.

Most importantly, Outback is now open every day of the week at 11 AM.  That means you can now visit outback for lunch!  I know that for years, many people complained that they had to wait for dinner for a Bloomin’ Onion.  Hehe.

Outback

Also, not that it matters to most folks, they’ve done away with their green beans as a side item.  My waiter was equally as perplexed as I was.  He told me that these were one of the most popular sides.

As you may know, the large Outback on Erie Blvd East closed down a month or so ago.  The Clay location is the only one near Syracuse at this time.  The closest others are in Vestal and Henrietta.

China Road

Categories: Asian, Casual, Eat-in, Take-away
Comments: No Comments
Published on: April 11, 2014

A couple of our friends wanted to meet up for an early dinner one Sunday, so the hubby and I met them at China Road in Mattydale.  I’m not sure just how long this restaurant has been open, but a girlfriend took me there for lunch about 20 years ago.  I don’t go every week, but I’m there several times a year.

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China Road is a clean, neat, hole-in-the-wall.  If you’ve ever been to New York City’s China Town, and eaten at one of the better places on Mott Street, then you’ll really enjoy eating here.  Walk in and you’re greeted by Chef Simon or his wife.  The front room is tiny – eight tables, including one larger family style table, and the front one where they stage take-out orders.  On especially busy nights, they open the back dining room, which is larger and seats maybe twice as many as the front room.

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Canale’s Liverpool

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Italian, Take-away
Comments: No Comments
Published on: April 4, 2014

Canale’s of Oswego, a restaurant going back over 50 years, opened a simple take-out place in Liverpool a few years back.  It’s on Rt 57, in the Glenn Crossing Plaza.  There are a few other ethnic restaurants here, so it seemed like a good choice.  The space was small, meant only for cooking, with a small waiting area for patrons who were picking up their food.

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Nope.  The patrons would have none of that!  These folks wanted to sit down and actually eat what they’d ordered on premises.  So Canale’s immediately obliged.  The place got so popular that they even build a little area in the warm months, where people can sit outside and be served.  True, the atmosphere out there can be a little. . . smoggy, but what the heck, you’re eating outside!

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Basil Leaf Ristorante

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Italian
Comments: No Comments
Published on: April 2, 2014

Basil Leaf moved last year. It was this tiny hole-in-the-wall place in North Syracuse. Last fall, they moved down the road to the corner of Rt 11 and Taft Rd, into the old Fresno’s building. I was afraid it wasn’t going to be the same.

Basil Leaf used to be a very romantic place.  A grotto, if you will, where parties of two could talk in low tones, music in the background.  Sure, you’d get larger parties, but the small, intimate space and dark interior was custom made for dates.  The food and service were spectacular.  Attentive but not intrusive staff.  Delicious entrees seasoned just right.  Even the bread was delicious!

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