The student newspaper of Clark University

The Scarlet

The student newspaper of Clark University

The Scarlet

The student newspaper of Clark University

The Scarlet

Decadent and Depraved Fine Dining: A Prosperous and Perilous Time in Albany, New York

The meal of The Cowboy. Photo courtesy of Gabe Schmick.

I had the urge to commit arson. Legal arson, that is, via bonfire like the thumb-sucking British. Even though the nearest Guy Fawkes Celebration was 3,171 miles away, that pervasive urge kept gnawing at me to collect the brush and throw in a match.  

I was running from the law. Those crusty lawyers in their suits and ties. But then I looked down, and I realized: I was the law. If it wasn’t for my partner in law (and crime) Blaze Clash, I’m not sure I would have made it out of the courtroom alive. The Cowboy and Justin Lens had procured a hotel room the night before and spent the whole day fighting the pressures of time tracking, testimony backing and witness attacking. 

At the end of this, I knew we’d need to find a worthy establishment to satisfy our cravings. Last night, gramish forces had pushed us away from the front line and towards The Outback. Indeed, it did satisfy our Australian urges. But something was still missing, something black and something blue. I think we knew even then that by the end of the next day, we would find ourselves in a world we’d never seen before. 

Lodging is a predicament most certain to befall the wandering reporter; the ones who take time to travel the earth to investigate its most mysterious and newsworthy nooks and crannies. But I, in Gonzo fashion, was seeking it for nothing more than to visit a dining establishment like I was some elitist scoundrel, or rather an anti-establishment bohemian. Surely the almighty reader will decide my position. Unlike my fellow members of the journalistic organization, consisting of Gary Gorky, Justin Lens the Trotskyist Photographer, The Cowboy: International Man of Mystery, and famous jockey Blaze Clash.    

Monument to the cigarette deity. Photo courtesy of Gabe Schmick..

Given our situation, being on the run from the law, it only made sense that we follow through with the newspaper we work for and write another article instead of playing catch-me-if-you-can with the constables of the Empire State. Our original destination before we were to go to the fine dining establishment was the obelisk to the cigarette god on the campus of the local state university. Why we were there vexes me to this very day. But then again, I’m always finding myself wrapped up in monuments to different gods ever since Sylvester Detroit brought me to the statue of the shoe idol. The Cigarette Monument was indeed an impressive sight, but given the time, we had to skedaddle in order to actually experience the most famous restaurant in Albany, New York, named after the colors of a bruise; the famous (or maybe even infamous) Black and Blue.  


The Cowboy had booked a reservation for us at this restaurant that, according to Google, was prestigious enough to have three dollar signs next to it. This was not your friendly neighborhood diner; this was serious stuff. We thought it was closed when we first arrived, but it was merely the effect of the dim lighting… an indication that we were in store for impeccable service. We knew it was serious when we walked in and were greeted by a guy who could tell we looked out of place. Then again, in what world is a Gonzo journalist, a Trotskyist photographer, a cowboy, and a jockey in place? Before entering the establishment we discussed politics – something about Georgists taxing the land all willy-nilly.  

When we arrived at the table, we were greeted with the option for sparkling or “normal” water. In order to get the full experience, the group opted for the ominous sparkling water. The bottle claimed it was made in the Adirondacks, where they make the chairs. Of course Gonzos don’t need chairs, given the motto of Gonzo journalism: “Gonzos never sit.” Something we were definitely not doing. 

The sparkling water was an excellent beverage and barely triumphed over the bubbling water produced out of Worcester at the polar bear’s headquarters. Given the nature of the water’s point of origin, I was worried about a chair-like aftertaste. Luckily, I encountered not even the essence of chair. 

The appetizers we ordered certainly needed to be strategic, as the prices were more gargantuan than tuition at a private liberal arts college in central Massachusetts. We settled for the shrimp cocktail in reference to the previous gastronomical adventure of Outback Steakhouse; after all, our Australian urges were still with us. I failed to ask for a comment on the shrimp because Justin Lens ate all of them and refused to elaborate on the taste. 

The next appetizer was the infamous steak tartare – a dish that Justin Lens refused to eat. “Who the fuck eats raw beef”, Lens scoured, “it fucks with your photographic abilities.” 

Gorky drinks from a chalice as The Cowboy reaches for the fondue. Photo courtesy of Gabe Schmick.

The meat was cubed, an anti-establishment move for such a place that caters to the upper echelons of society. Did they forget to do the mincing? This is certainly a possibility. Or maybe the culinary mastermind behind the marble countertop had Minecraft on the brain. 

The last appetizer was the crab and lobster fondue, an appetizer that was almost unrecognizable given the strange and peculiar baked thing on top (we still don’t know what the hell it was). The cowboy immediately started his consumption of the goods. 

“This is the best one,” he said, pointing at the vessel of parmigiano reggiano fondue. I personally found immense delight in the cube style steak tartare, whose horseradish aioli, capers and panko-crusted soft boiled egg created a feeling of food euphoria that only the feast-goers at Valhalla could imagine. 

All around the room, we were surrounded by statues of bull heads. What metaphor was this? Looking down on us as we ate in this bovine bistro? 


The main courses would certainly change my mind about this godforsaken place, as I thought that the appetizers were merely subpar, really. I had ordered a special on account of the Gonzoism that would’ve come from the mystery of a menu item not listed. The dish I ordered was a pan-seared halibut with king crab arugula risotto. An interesting combination for a place known for its surf and turf, and not the lesser-known surf and surf. 

The meal of Gary Gorky. Photo courtesy of Gabe Schmick.

The average steak review observer will probably raise an eyebrow in disgust at my not ordering beef. And although I came into this place they call a restaurant with the full intent of ordering a steak, I instantly smelled some good ol ‘tomfoolery. 

You see, Gonzo readers, I was informed by the “site” on the “world wide web” that they were cooking their steaks in an oven that was 1,500 degrees. However, our waiter said they were cooked in a 1,700 degree oven! WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY TRYING TO PULL?

Blaze Clash, the horse jockey (and noted lawyer), continued the anti-establishment trend by ordering a cauliflower steak – after all, it is written in the Jockey-Lawyer Manual that cauliflower must be eaten daily, in recognition of the founder of the Jockey-Lawyer Society, who was a cauliflower farmer. 

The meal of Blaze Cash. Photo courtesy of Gabe Schmick.

The decadent nature of the cauliflower truly surprised me. The radiant orange hue was like a ball of fire. “Prosperous,” said Blaze upon seeing it. 

The Cowboy decided to order a special as well, though to this day I still cannot decipher what the hell it was. This mysterious dish was one of the pasta types and consisted of seared ahi tuna and bacon with some sort of sauce (See featured photo). I’m going to have to take off points for the sauce being too mysterious. Now, I remember Justin Lens got the salmon given his membership of the North American Salmon Critics Society founded in 1979 by Chris P. Phish, a world champion deep sea fisherman. Mr. Lens was particularly fond of the salmon but would later forget about his leftovers after he left them in a mini fridge in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

The meal of Justin Lens. Photo courtesy of Gabe Schmick.


In the aftermath of the Black and Blue Steak and Crab, we realized the perilous and prosperous nature of fine dining establishments. Mr. Gordon calls it “United Waste of America.” The prices rival the ridiculous costs leveled by these institutions of higher education against humble Gonzos such as ourselves. 

Gary Gorky shocked after viewing the check. Photo courtesy of Gabe Schmick.

I will say that the restaurant was worth visiting, if only for the novelty of it all. But the chances of me going back are about as high as the chance of the Supreme Court upholding freedom and democracy. So the next time you’re in Albany, save your money and buy an Albany cheesesteak.            

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

Comment approval is subject to the discretion of the Scarlet editorial board.
All The Scarlet Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Justin Lens ~ Apr 13, 2024 at 3:40 am