Ale House provides solid cuisine

For those who may not be aware, Monday, September 16 to Sunday, September 22 was restaurant week in Troy. As such, the majority of restaurants provided great deals on many popular meals, providing a delicious and cheap option for us starving college students. While many choices were available, ranging from Italian to Lebanese, we decided to stick to a more classic college dining experience with The Ale House in downtown.

One of the deals we tried was two sliders, fries, and a side for $10. For the sliders, we were given a choice between a grass-fed Angus beef or pulled pork, and for the sake of a complete review, we decided to have one of each.

We first tried the Angus burger. Our visual reaction was one of awe. This burger before us was impressive; if this is their definition of a slider, we were enticed to see the full sized, eight ounce version. This burger was thick, and easily more than half the size of what we would consider a “normal” burger. Complementing the size, the meat was perfectly prepared, and the cheddar was an unexpectedly pleasant surprise. Overall, our expectations for what constitutes a slider has been raised greatly; this was an impressive burger for a place we would never think to go to for a burger in Troy.

Now onto our second slider, the pulled pork sandwich. My first peek under the bun showed me this was prepared with a nice hot barbecue sauce layered in the pork, and with a cool coleslaw on top of that, so we were expecting a full tasting meal in every bite. However, after having the burger, this sandwich was just a bit underwhelming. Even with the habañero sauce we threw on, the sandwich was just too average-tasting. In the week prior, we had been to either end of the pulled pork spectrum, grabbing one of the best we had ever eaten at Dinosaur BBQ as well as a few days later having one of the worst at Commons. This pulled pork sandwich was somewhere right in between, maybe a little more towards the good side; however, it just wasn’t worth getting when we could have gotten a second one of those Angus burgers.

The sides were just as one would expect of a barbecue meal—coleslaw and french fries. The slaw was as near perfect for our tastes as one would expect; there was a nice sweetness and coolness to it that went well with the warm flavors of the other plate items. The fries were also satisfactory; they were well-sized and there were plenty of them, so they definitely satisfied our starch intake.

In keeping with the traditional orders, another in our party ordered the turkey dinner, which came stacked high and sliced thin on a huge plate flooded with gravy, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. The thin slices insured that every bit of the bird had flavor as well as soft texture, a difficult feat to accomplish, especially with turkey. The gravy, which traditionally comes drizzled over the turkey, instead came in a small bowl on the side. This was a welcome addition, as it made the sauce perfect for dipping with turkey spread over two pieces of clean rye bread. The dipping added a visceral enjoyment that one would generally expect from a barbeque or chicken strip dinner.

The sides that accompanied the turkey were generally excellent; the gravy was tangy but wasn’t so thick that you felt disgusting eating it; the mashed potatoes went the light route, with few chunks and a nice, creamy consistency throughout. The approach worked well with the portion size and the equally light gravy; we could mix the gravy into the mashed potatoes and eat through the giant serving while saving room for the main course. The cranberry sauce was a bit of a weak link, unfortunately; while some prefer to have their sauce so thick you need to cut scoops out with a spoon, we’re not among them. Once we did spread the sauce over the turkey, however, we definitely appreciated the sweetness and tartness it brought to the entree.

While most of the turkey slices were excellent, some weren’t quite up to par; instead of being soft and succulent, every now and then we would find a slice of turkey that was too tough or bland, though that is to be expected with turkey, being one of the more difficult fowls to cook. Still, one can hardly complain; given the massive portions for the $11 price, the turkey dinner was an amazing deal.

We also got to sample a ten-piece order of tequila chicken wings, which came for the decent price of $9.50. While that comes out to almost a dollar a wing, the order is well worth it, especially if you have the money. The meat was a perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and spicy, but the main draw was right at the surface. Lesser wings will have sticky, soggy skin that collects oil to create a slimy consistency; The Ale House’s wings were just crispy and dry enough on the outside to keep the sauce in and explode with flavor when bitten into.

A (of age) member of our party also ordered a Guinness float (think root beer float without the ‘root’) for $5. The float was an interesting concept, which got better as the evening went on and the ice cream melted into the drink.

So, our final verdict. Our only true regret of the whole night was getting the pulled pork sandwich when we could have gotten another burger. But in the end the plate was more than worth the money we spent, and when we come back to The Ale House, we will be sure to pay full price for those two Angus beef sliders. Other than that, The Ale House presented a number of strong offerings at decent prices, any of which will stay constant long after restaurant week ends. With minor caveats, we absolutely recommend trying it out.