Quintessence on the comeback


Steve Barnes reports that a couple of investors are bringing Quintessence back to life. The restaurant had it going on back in the day -- it was in a cool, old-school diner and offered good, interesting, kind-of-funky food. (Our favorite grill staple was the chicken teriyaki with spinach fettucini and salad.)

So, it's great news to hear Quintessence is coming back more-or-less the way it was (though apparently without the 80s after-hours dance club vibe). But we're a little worried about the location. It's not exactly, well, quintessential. Albany's Park South neighborhood (you know, between Washington Park and AMC, where New Scotland runs into Madison) is kind of rough and parking is hard to find. We'd hate to see history repeat itself.

But, hey, plans have been in the works to redevelop that neighborhood for years -- maybe Quintessence can help shake some things loose.

Comments

Quintessence......
was never an after hours dance club.I should know as I was the house dj there 84-97.
It featured dance music 4 nights per week,hours being 11pm - 4am.
I also made tapes for the place that played all day.

God those were the days..................
regards
Michael Nordin

As far as I was concerned, chicken teriyaki with spinach fettucini and salad was the only thing they had on their lunch and dinner menu - and Sunday brunch was killer.

I think that neighborhood may be on its way up.

oh how i loved quintessence...

of course, the last time i was there (shortly before it closed) i saw two mice run under the doors to the kitchen... i am stoked that it's making a comeback, but i hope they fully exterminate first!

and who could forget the Kelly boys?

Or the Phelan girls! or Donnie the Doorman or Carrie K - the greatest, sweetest, tallest waitress that ever brought me a steak!

If I ate there once, I've eaten there 350 times and I am not exaggerating. I have some of the fondest memories of that place...from when Chicken Teriyaki was $3.95 to when Jimmy Scalz ran for alderman, to the leaner years when it was surviving, but just barely...It would be a great shot in the arm to have it back for that neighborhood.... particularly if they could find some parking so people weren't forced to go to far away up Dana where things have hit the skids pretty hard. Just please, do something about the heating/cooling system :-) And Bring Donnie and Carrie Goldberg back!

This place sounds amazing! I can't wait for when it opens. You'll have to keep us updated. It'll be perfect for me and my boyfriend since we live so close we won't have to worry about parking. Or maybe not- I don't need to be stuffing my face with fettucini at 2am. Oh hell, yes I do.

I've been parking in that neighborhood to go to Valentine's for years with nary a problem. Don't be afraid, people, go eat at Quintessence! Assuming, you know, that its any good when it reopens.

Parking's way easier there than it is in Center Square and the neighborhood is not that bad at all. If anything, it's kind of empty now that they've closed down much of the housing around there to renovate. I'm glad to see this diner come back for many reasons. One, Albany needs more diners within walking distance. Cafe 217 anyone? If you haven't been to that yummy place on the corner of Delaware and Jefferson, please check it out. Two, maybe this will bring some more business back to Valentine's. That club used to be hopping every night, but lately it's always dead. It would be so sad if such a great music establishment shut down. Let's make Albany the great place it can be. Support local businesses!!!!!
Next, maybe someone will bring back the Cottage Diner...

I, too, have had the chicken teriyaki at least a hundred times. The two most memorable were takeout, delivered to me by my huband. One during the famous OJ White Bronco chase and another the night my third son as born at Albany Med.

Parking was never that big a problem over the 12 years I used to go there, although one might have to walk a block on a busy night. The only thing that used to bother me was all the garbage and cigs strewn around the area by the other places!

Of course the Chicken Teriyaki was the staple, but who could forget the Mexican on Sunday nights like when the sizzling fajitas came out . . . or Wed's Italian night for the Chicken Parm?

Hooray!
Let's not forget about Jay Parrish, the "Eggman", Adam Graham, Claire, and so many others. And as previously mentioned, ALL the Kelly boys!
I hope the new ownership has the smarts to do some research in order to do this right and the way it WAS done! Otherwise, name it somethin' else.
And...they'll need a better exterminator and/or better garbage containment system!
This rebirth, if done correctly, could help in the revitalization of the neighborhood. Downtown Albany seems to be a mess in certain places. (Thank you, suburban politicians) This just might help change things.
Best of luck, and I'll be there if this happens!

WOW!!!!!!!!!! Memories-Stories-You who know, know what I'm saying. Cooking there for a few years gave me both the confidence and the nerve to open my own place. Thanks Jimmy-Henry and a bit of Russ for letting me use your place as a stepping stone. Big Love always Debbies Kitchen

It would be nice to see ANYTHING going on in Albany, that isn't the '80's, i.e. decor, fashion, cuisine etc. Like chicken teriyaki with fettucini? F'in-gross. I do remember brunch, but the company was more memorable. As far trashy looking, most of that area is dirty looking, hell that corner's been filthy since I was born.

Great to hear it's coming back; I loved the chicken teriyaki! An Albany friend would take me there when I visited, then when I finally moved here it was closed!

The neighborhood could use a beautification, that is for sure.

Dressing for Chicken Teriyaki??? Ok folks, I've figured out the boneless chicken wrapped around carrot and scallion then marinate in teriyaki and grilled....but what about the dressing??? back in the day I use to purchase it in jars from them. I recall being told it is "Paris dressing" sold by Cysco foods, which was on Rt 7 in Latham, but I've been living in Boston now for over a decade and don't know if it's still available. Any insights here? I made it for my family last night using a "french dressing" that looked the same in the bottle, but missed the mark. PLEASE HELP ME FIND PARIS DRESSING!

Oh, the memories! Hanging out at the bar drinking gin and tonics then sitting in a tiny both eating the best food in Albany. The chicken terriyaki, spinach fettucini, salad and that incredible Paris dressing poured all over it - yum. Those were good days. I'll make the drive from Boston and bring my kids for Sunday brunch.

Mimosas with freshly squeezed juice was a longtime Sunday morning (er... afternoon?) hangover treat, but I would never feel 100% until I had those banana pancakes.

hmmm not the pastry chef Dave Leibowitz posting?

This kind of "sauce" was(is) also crazy popular in a Savannah, GA teriyaki shop; Similar to the sauce at many Japanese Steak houses?

I was the Sous Chef there for 5 years and many a good times were had, and I hope many a good meals were enjoyed. I hope that Donnie and Claire are good and eggman is as still angry at everything but the girlies. I hope Jimmy is good I know he is still serving Albany well, I also that Henry has learned that duck does not need to be covered with orange sauce LOL. I wish the new owners all the best.

Long live the the Bakmi Omelet

Oh my G-d, how many times have we tried to recreate both the dressing for the salad and the sauce on the spinach noodles. But alas, we keep failing. Anyone know the recipe?

This is news to me! And my mother worked there for my entire childhood. Anyone remember Jules? :)
I know Scalzo was kinda sad about the place closing, and it really went downhill after my mom left.

I'll be interested to see how this pans out.

And hey to Debbie from Debbie's Kitchen up there!

Yeah I remember the grilled chicken teriyaki plate, the italian dinner nght. But what I remember the most was the dancing, dancing and more dancing to New Order until 4 AM. Being so sweatty and drinking tons of water (after giving up on the hydration value of beer). Picking up chicks or they picking me up, or most of the time leaving with my friends satisfied we enjoyed every minute of the night. Ahhhh the 1980's. Oh the memories....

As for the dressing, I've never found the paris dressings available any match for what Q's served. That being said however, "annie's" brand goddess dressing is actually, dare I say it, an improvement!!

Parking is not hard to find in this area. I live in the building next door and can most often park on New Scotland itself on nights and weekends. There is PLENTY of parking on both Dana and Morris Streets due to half the houses on these roads being vacant. Even when Valentine's is packed, one does not need to look further than these two closest side streets for quick and easy parking.

I heard from a very reliable source that the new owners will have valet parking. This is going to be AWESOME!!!

Micheal Nordin? Is that the same musicmaster Michael Nordin who is from Sweden and was a camp counselor at Rosemont?? noelknight@yahoo.com

I'm excited to hear it's back, but the food better be as good as it was! No changes to the menu, thank you very much. Service, on the other hand, was almost always terrible. I spent two hours waiting for my Sunday brunch order once; Quintessence and its terrible service was even referenced in the Best Man speech at my wedding!

If it wasn't brunch, it was Chicken/Beef Teriyaki with the Spinach Noodles Vinagrette. I don't recall ordering anything else in all my lunch/dinner visits to Quinnys. Cheap and freakin' AWESOME! Yep, called in some take-out orders for it, too. My girlfriend(s) said I made orgasm noises when eating it.

And I have an answer to those looking for the vinagrette recipe for the spinach noodles. The recipe was printed in the Albany Times Union more than a decade ago. Enterprising as I am, I found the old newspaper article at the library and printed it out, then made copies for friends. The TU recipe is a LITTLE off from the real thing, but it's very very close. Just add a splash of teriyaki sauce to each person's plate, to simulate the run-off from the chicken teriyaki at the restaurant, and you'll have it. Maybe I'll print the recipe here when I have the chance, or you can just go to the library and find the TU article for yourself.

Quintessence was where the yuppie scum went. On certain nights that included me. But if you grew up here Skels 119 was the place. Right across the street but light years away.

Being an Albany area kid going to high school and remaining there for college and law school as well during the 90's you couldn't beat Quintessence for a great, inexpensive meal.....and as the last stop for a night out. It did have a Euro Disco Cantina from Star Wars type Vibe at night and a Yuppie Soho feel at dinner and Sundays morning. Both were great! The Chicken Terrayaki with cold Spinach Fettuccini Noodles topped with their homeade, thick italian dressing was unbelievable. My brother and I now live in Florida and reference Quint's Terrayaki enough that our wives who could give two ***** about Albany jump on us every time we mention it. It is the best place to impress a date when you don't have more than $20 for a night out. I hope they have the fresh squeezed (in front of you) orange juice for Sunday Brunch. The Burgers were great and they had different theme nights, some more successful than others so i stuck to the Open Flame Grill (in the Bar in front of you) or the Chicken Parm on Italian night. The area was sketchy when i was there13 years ago so I doubt it got better with the recession. I remember having to fend off panhandlers on New Scotland in the 90's and seen my share of shady events in that area.

This board is great. I remember Jimmy running for Alderman. He worked at the Plaza Grill (another legend) where i worked as well for 2 years during school. Cottage Diner was great...you have to love a 100 sq. ft. closet with a few booths, large grill with 40 lbs of potatoes piled high waiting for your order of the "working man special"...2 eggs, 2 bacon, 2 sausage, home fries and toast for $2.95.
good times...sometimes you couldn't even talk, just point at the menu board. Love that area! Enjoy guys. I hope anybody here under the age of 30 can help bring New Scotland back to life. Albany is a great town with an even greater history. My heart will always be there and i can't wait to come back at least for a few days.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

A quick recap of the week

Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA: + We gave away tickets to Historic Albany's BUILT event by asking: If you... (more)

Coxsackie. Skaneateles. Canajoharie.

This is total linkbait, but it's funny linkbait: The real estate website Movoto asked Californians how to pronounces the names of places in upstate... (more)

Cider donut bread pudding

We saw that Deanna had made this for a party and it looked like an idea that needed to be shared. So, we asked her... (more)

Capital Region neighborhoods with the most trick-or-treaters

After a recent conversation about popular trick-or-treat neighborhoods, we were curious about which Capital Region neighborhoods have the most trick-or-treaters. And while we can't really... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

It's Halloween. And it's the weekend, so there's plenty of stuff to do. After the jump we've assembled a bag of fun-sized treats for your... (more)

Recent Comments

... as somebody who is interested in developing downtown and possibly starting a business there, but isn't Columbia development, what message do those tax breaks send to me? The smaller players who will do the type of infill, mixed use development that we really need get discouraged when they see that only the big guys get any support from the city and that the playing field is tilted against them ...

Coxsackie. Skaneateles. Canajoharie.

...has 1 comment, most recently from KB @ Home-Baked Happiness

Cider donut bread pudding

...has 1 comment, most recently from Jeff

Capital Region neighborhoods with the most trick-or-treaters

...has 3 comments, most recently from J

Campaign Yard Sign Design Election 2014, Part I

...has 7 comments, most recently from -S

Impact Downtown Albany's vision of what the city's downtown could be

...has 12 comments, most recently from Joe A