By ELIZABETH SCHAEFER
After a long, but enjoyable weekend afternoon, my boyfriend suggested Johnny’s — the Mallozzi Group owned Italian venue smack in the middle of Schenectady’s revitalized downtown area.
We made reservations, but when we arrived, we asked if any tables outside had opened up, and they told us if we were willing to wait a few minutes they could accommodate us. We didn’t mind waiting, and it really was only about 10 minutes.
Once we were seated, water was served immediately and our server came over for our drink orders. I went with Proseco, the 10-year-old went with soda and my boyfriend ordered an Old Fashioned. I placed an order for their caprese salad appetizer, which is always delicious. The 10-year-old ordered pasta fagioli.
I went through about five different options, and finally narrowed it down to two. I couldn’t make the decision between the eggplant rollatini or the clam sauce over tagliatelle. When our server arrived to take our dinner order, I asked for his opinion. He asked me a few questions about how I was feeling and such, and said the clam sauce was my best bet. As I am always one to trust the judgement of the server, I went with it. My boyfriend, in turn, ordered the sausage and eggplant Capri al Vincenzo, and the 10-year-old went with one of their signature dishes, the ravioli montecasino.
Our caprese salad arrived, as well as the pasta fagioli. The 10-year-old immediately declared it just like my grandmother’s, which is the highest praise there is. Their caprese salad is the real deal, too. The mozzarella is super fresh, and the tomatoes robust and flavorful. With a light drizzle of balsamic, it was done perfectly.
We took it slow on the appetizer because the weather was beautiful and although the patio is right on State Street, it is very relaxing. When our dinner did arrive, we all knew immediately that we had made the right choices.
A dozen beautiful clams sat upon a dish of fresh made tagliatelle. A light white wine and garlic sauce added an aroma that turned out to be just as flavorful as it smelled. The white wine was light, as was the garlic, both mixing to form a sauce that didn’t overpower the clams, but complimented them. The clams were cooked just right, and the pasta was done just right. I haven’t had a clam sauce that was that good in a very long time.
The 10-year-old fell in love with her meal, and finished the entire thing, which after her dish of soup could only indicate that she was in love with it.
My boyfriend’s dish was massive, to put it lightly. Although I don’t have an affinity for sausage, I insisted on tasting it, since eggplant is a favorite. It was quite good, and he declared it excellent. He rarely has leftovers, but wasn’t even remotely close to finishing his meal, but heated it up the next day, and enjoyed it just as much.
I did finish my clams, but not the pasta, which we did bring home. It too was very good the next day.
So, would I recommend going? Without a doubt. Feel free to be a little creative with what you order, because we all had something we hadn’t had there, and all left with smiles on our face. Enjoy!
Please submit suggestions on places to try, for either a health conscious tasty meal, or for that weekly cheat meal. Elizabeth Schaefer can be reached at [email protected]