Thursday, February 2, 2017

New casino's flagship restaurant anything but cheap eats

A portion of Dukes, with framed local historical photos
If you plan to visit the Rivers Casino & Resort when it opens next Wednesday at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady, you probably know enough to take along a sufficient amount of cash to experience the gambling. However, if you also plan to dine at its flagship venue, you best plan to take a lot of extra cash or be sure your credit card isn't near its limit.

I looked over the menu the Mallozzi Group prepared for its Dukes Chophouse -- the only dining spot not in an onsite food court. While not shocked that some prices are rather stiff because they usually are at casinos, I was surprised that so many parts of the menu are unnecessarily overpriced.

The usual high prices for steaks and seafood are there -- $46 for a 16-ounce New York strip, $52 for a 20-ounce bone-in cowboy ribeye, $36 for a piece of sea bass, etc. The surprises abound, including the likes of $10.50 for onion soup, $10 for a single baked potato, $10 for asparagus, or $10 for brussels sprouts. Oh, and $14 for a wedge salad that is mainly iceberg, that cheapest of all lettuces, and $13 for just two shrimp added to your steak plate.

But, looked at another way, compared to a sampling of several other top-end steakhouses in the Capital Region, all of which also serve USDA Prime grade meat, Dukes' prices might be called reasonable. (All prices as listed on the restaurants' websites.)
• At Angelo's 677 Prime in Albany, the onion soup is $14, the iceberg wedge salad $14, a 14-ounce New York strip (a 16 isn't offered) is $52, a sea bass dish is $44, a side of asparagus $11.

• At Salt & Char in Saratoga Springs, a 16-ounce ribeye is priced at $48, a 20-ounce bone-in ribeye is $72, the iceberg wedge is $14, and french fries or brussels sprouts are each $12.

• At Black & Blue Steak and Crab in Guilderland, an 18-ounce bone-in cowboy ribeye goes for $43, an 18-ounce porterhouse for $45, asparagus (two sizes) $7 and $12, creamy kale  (two sizes) $8 and $14.
The 140-seat Dukes venue, which includes a seasonal patio, will offer live music several times a week. The initial schedule is available online.

Hours: lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dinner 5 to 10 p.m. (last seating) Monday-Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m. (last seating) Sunday. Phone:

Oh, the name? Despite the spelling -- and you just know people are going to throw an apostrophe in there even though the company does not -- it refers to just one person. According to its website, it is named for "Schenectady icon Tony 'The Duke' DeLorenzo." DeLorenzo was the first employee of the Galesi Group that built the Mohawk Harbor complex, and was an assistant to the Galesi chairman for 40 years.

• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

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