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Revised: Reel Seafood has real hiccup in a special menu

Chef Dustin Aipperspach.

Capital Region foodies who may have been wondering about the new executive chef at Reel Seafood Co. in suburban Colonie -- especially after he inexplicably went unnamed in a recent review by the area's largest newspaper -- will have an opportunity to sample Dustin Aipperspach's skills at a wine dinner next week. New owner Aliki Serras recently bought the longtime restaurant, located at 195 Wolf Road, from her father, LeGrande, had it renovated and hired Aipperspach to create a new menu. His first wine-pairing dinner is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, with reservations available by calling (518) 458-2068.

One offputting circumstance: That special menu said it would include "Beluga caviar." Ever-alert fellow food blogger Daniel Berman contacted me within moments of my posting that menu to inquire how that could be, given the scarcity and sky-high price of that iconic caviar.

Frankly, I wish I had caught that first, especially since Beluga is on the endangered list and sale of it is banned in many countries. I followed up by calling the restaurant and asking if it truly would be serving Beluga, which sells for $3,200 to $4,500 for 16 ounces, a highly improbable ingredient in an $80-per-person dinner. The answer I received was that it actually would be serving "American osetera" caviar.

American osetera is a farmed white sturgeon caviar that sells for something on the order of $570 for 16 ounces. That is an immense difference from the originally-announced menu.

Aipperspach's background includes more than 23 years as a professional chef, 15 of those years in the Vail, Colorado, area. He owned and operated the
Café Milano in that tourist city before selling it and moving east to take the Reel Seafood position.

Here is the revised menu for Monday:

Amuse: Chilled oyster on the half-shell with featured mignonette; Caposaldo Prosecco NV, Piedmont, Italy. 1st course: Beluga caviar with cucumber yogurt dill sauce; Protea Chenin Blanc, South Africa 2013. 2nd course: Green papaya tempura lobster "slipper"; Stags’ Leap Viognier Napa Valley, California 2012. 3rd course: Turbot with heirloom tomatoes, olives, lemon, cucumber, dill, fried artichoke hearts; M. Chapoutier Belleruche Rosé, Rhone Valley, France 2013. Intermezzo: Cinco de Mayo granita. 4th course: Braised beef short rib and dive boat sea scallop over wild mushroom barley risotto; Laetita Pinot Noir Arroyo Grande, California 2012. 5th course: Meyer lemon curd tartlet with blueberry compote; M. Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti, Piedmont Italy 2012.

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