NOTE: This restaurant has closed.
The great American shopping mall. It was a big deal back in the day to hang out at the mall. Somehow malls have fallen out of fashion. Maybe because of online shopping? Well as far as I’m concerned, I still LOVE the mall. My local mall, Crossgates in Albany, is where some of my favorite shops are – Pottery Barn, Athleta, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor and DSW.
And now I have one more reason to hang out at the mall. Rascals!!!
Rascals opened this past July in Crossgates and is absolutely gorgeous. My friend Rebecca and I checked it out last Monday. When you walk in there’s a long bar and communal tables. Perfect for shopping and then ducking in for a snack or cocktail. In fact, Rebecca had been there the week before for a glass of wine.
Loved the lighting in this part of the restaurant. It’s just super cool.
Just beyond the bar area is the main dining area. Decorated in shades of cream, tan and rich browns the atmosphere is sophisticated AND inviting. The light fixtures cascade from the ceiling and there is comfy banquette seating too. Rebecca and I sat in one of the banquettes. You can spot her in the pic.
The restaurant owners’, Phil and Linda Lama, told us that the bar area can accommodate about 100 people; with another 130 in the dining room. I was surprised to hear that because the space felt so cozy.
A standout feature of the venue is the entertainment area. It’s separated from the main dining room and has its own entrance, bar, VIP seating and stage with a 22′ LED screen. The sound system is amazing too. Linda told us that the line array speakers took three months of engineering to get just right and were customized for the space. She said that bands just love it. Will definitely be back for the live entertainment. I checked out the event schedule and saw that several of my favorite local bands play there.
Even though Rascals is a steakhouse, the menu is quite extensive – Starters, Salads, Steaks & Chops, Seafood, Entrees, Sides, Sauces and Dessert gave us plenty of options to choose from. The wine list is excellent.
We started our tour of the menu with Roasted Beet Salad, Pimenton Glazed Duck Drumettes and Belly of the Beast. The variety of flavors and textures on each of these plates was remarkable and everything was just visually stunning.
Hands down, though, our favorite starter was Belly of the Beast. The pork belly is cured, smoked and confited in-house. The plate comes with carrot jam (a first for me!), house-made greek yogurt, pickled red cabbage, baby radish and a cumin port wine jus.
Rebecca and I determined that the perfect bite of Belly of the Beast had to have each of the dish’s components in it. This way we could experience the sweet, savory, creamy and acidity of each element along with the smoky, porky goodness.
The perfect bite . . .
The whole plate . . .
After this awesome start, we knew that more good things were coming our way. You have to order steak at a steakhouse – obviously – and Phil suggested we try a seafood entree too.
There are two butchers on site and one pastry chef. Everything is made fresh and the steaks are dry aged, prime – including the filet.
Steaks are served with your choice of Bordelaise, Bearnaise, Rosemary Jus, Au Poivre, Pesto, Herb Butter or Mushroom Demi-Glace. We couldn’t pick just one so we had a side of bearnaise AND the mushroom demi-glace. We also had difficulty choosing a side dish to go with our steak (steaks come with one side). We opted for the cast iron mac n’ cheese – orecchiette, parmesan cheddar cream, lardons, scallion, smoked panko and fresh cracked pepper.
Our steak was definitely a show stopper. Equally tasty, were the flash-seared diver scallops served with butter poached leeks, roasted celery root, roasted heirloom carrots, watermelon radish, pomegranate jus and micro arugula.
Phil and Linda stopped by to check on us and to see if we wanted dessert. We really wished we saved room but there was just no way.
So, let me break it down for you. Yes, it’s a steakhouse in a mall. So what? The food is great, the atmosphere is fabulous and is family-owned. Portions are generous. Starters and salads range in price from $8 – $14; Steaks, Chops, Entrees and Seafood range in price from $20 – $50.
[divider scroll_text=”About Rascals”]
Rascals Steakhouse is located in Crossgates Mall and serves lunch and dinner. Open Monday – Thursday 11:00am – 10:00pm; Friday and Saturday 11:00am – 1:00am; Sunday 11:00am – 9:00pm. The full menu can be viewed here.
*Disclosure: Our Rascals Steakhouse dinner was complimentary; opinions and experience are completely my own.*