Peck’s Arcade: Review

Last Thursday, one day after opening, I went to Peck’s Arcade with a friend for dinner.

In the kitchen is Chef Nick Ruscitto and sous chef Matt Sciubba, the same two behind Tavern Noodle. Peck’s is already in their element pulling off a higher level dining experience.

We were seated towards back of the restaurant, facing the kitchen. I was able to ask Chef Nick about the menu, and he didn’t bat an eye when I had said that both of us are vegan. Both chefs commented that it was fun and easy for them to modify the dishes. This being a non-issue put me at ease throughout the course of my meal.

We ended up eating essentially everything that they were able to make for us, for a total of nine courses. Each dish came with it’s own set of flavors and texture, and each dish was as enjoyable as the last. Even the bread they served was excellent, and it’s no surprise it too is made in-house.

The food had intense levels of complexity and consideration for being so simply described. Seemingly small touches set the dishes over the top. The carrot risotto had deep fried rosemary; the hazelnuts popped in the wild mushroom dish; the togarashi was amazing on the broccoli; the black garlic was incredible on the celery root. The list goes on, and words can do it no justice.

The Peck’s machine was humming along. Vic was in the DJ booth providing the soundtrack for the night. Heather was bouncing around and in charge as always. Scott was behind the bar. The staff was attentive without being overbearing. The kitchen staff was calm and in control.

The attention to detail is obvious in everything at Peck’s. Even the hours are set up so the same staff works together each night to deliver a consistent, high quality experience. Head over to Peck’s Arcade as soon as you can. There’s a superlative dining experience to be had and you’re missing out if you haven’t been.

Peck’s Arcade is open 5 to 10pm Wednesday and Thursday, 5 to 11pm Friday and 4 to 11pm Saturday. You can find their menu and more information at


Peck’s Arcade is opening tomorrow

Peck’s Arcade, Vic and Heather’s new restaurant at 217 Broadway will be opening tomorrow, January 7. They’re currently accepting reservations via their website for tomorrow and beyond.

Peck’s Arcade is in the same space that Tavern Noodle occupied during their two pop-ups. The menu, which is below, is mainly small plates with a few mains, sides, pasta dishes and a ssam dish for 3-4. Their hours are 5 to 10pm Wednesday and Thursday, 5 to 11pm Friday and 4 to 11pm Saturday.

Grab a group of friends and go check out Peck’s as soon as possible. I have a feeling it’s going to be hard to get Friday and Saturday night reservations pretty soon. I can’t wait to make mine.

Continue reading…


Plans unveiled for Heather Lavine and Vic Christopher’s new restaurant

After the wild success of the Tavern Noodle Pop-up, there has been a lot of questions as to what’s going to fill that space full time. Vic and Heather announced yesterday that they’re going to be opening a restaurant called Peck’s Arcade. Peck’s Arcade will focus on small plates, with drawing from eclectic global tastes.

Their previewed menu includes six small plates, two mains, and two pasta dishes, alongside a cocktail menu with four choices. The wine menu may be shared with the Confectionery or very close to what they offer.

For consistency, Peck’s Arcade will be open Wednesday through Saturday, which will allow the same team to work together each night.

You can check out the space tonight (December 18) during the second Tavern Noodle Pop-up at 5pm. Learn more on the Peck’s Arcade website, and the Peck’s Arcade facebook.

Checking out The Brakes Coffeehouse & Provisions

It seems like years since Red Poppies said they were losing their lease at 227 Lark St, but their space remained decorated and occupied, but closed. When I noticed some changes to their window I was thrilled that there was someone set to rescue yet another empty space on Lark Street.

Now at 227 Lark St is The Brakes Coffeehouse and Provisions. I had heard a few people talking about Brakes Cafe, happy that there’s a new business on Lark, but I hadn’t seen an announcement or anything from them.

Brakes Cafe is an all vegan cafe with sandwiches, salads, soups, desserts, teas and coffees. The cafe has emerged in the wake of the closing of Loving Cafe in Delmar. The staff, equipment and recipes have all been moved over from Loving Cafe. Brakes and Lil Buddha (another all vegan spot on Lark Street) work well together as Brakes doesn’t do smoothies or juices, and is open much different hours than Lil Buddha.

The driving motivation behind the space is bigger than ‘making sandwiches’.

From the Brakes Project website:

The Brakes Coffeehouse and Provisions is focused squarely on tackling climate change by providing low-carbon foods, educational programming, tools and resources to help the community transition to a “decarbonized” economy. Foods we serve will be plant-based and sustainably produced.

I had stopped in twice over the weekend and I was ecstatic to see that only after a week or so of being open, there were people at every table. The staff was super friendly even during the busiest I have seen the place. Even as I was walking past last on Saturday night there were plenty of people milling around inside.

The space has a nice big couch facing the window, where you can eat or grab a book off their bookshelf and relax with your coffee or tea. There’s a few tables throughout and a bunch of locally made goodies in support of climate change, veganism, or even just shopping local. Their mission comes across tastefully and their veganism and climate change initiatives are sprinkled throughout the cafe. It’s all presented in a way that allows those who are interested or curious about the topics to be able to learn more in easily without feeling judged.

All of the food I ate from Brakes was delicious and I will definitely be stopping in often. Give the place a try next time you’re in the area.

Brakes is open Tuesday through Thursday 7:30am-7:30pm, Friday 7:30am-10pm, Saturday 10am-10pm and Sunday 12pm-4pm.

Tavern Noodle Pop-up: Video

I shot and edited a quick video to document the behind the scenes happenings in preparation for the Tavern Noodle Pop-up. The place was opened for one day, with no plans beyond that one day. However, since the overwhelming success they’ve decided to bring it back, one day only, on December 18 at 5pm.

The place was high energy the entire day and the food was phenomenal. Enjoy the video, and make it out to the next one if you missed this one. Last chance!

Checking out Barkeater Coffee Roasters

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Not too long ago while swiping around on Instagram, I noticed an account for a coffee roaster in East Greenbush. After a few emails, I headed across the river to East Greenbush to check out Barkeater Coffee Roasters.

Barkeater Coffee Roasters is ran by Steven Pivonka out of a workshop on on his property. The whole operation is tucked into a corner, with the roaster, green coffee, scales, buckets and packaging equipment all present.

While I was visiting, Steven roasted up a five pound batch of Ethiopian East Harrar. It was fun to be able to watch the entire roasting process from start to finish, including warming up the roaster itself. The roasting process goes quicker than one would imagine and seems like some sort of witchcraft. Stephen fired up the roaster, dumped in a bucket of green coffee beans, and let em spin around for a little bit in the roaster. He checked on them a few times, listened in to hear the first crack and soon after dumped the beans into the cooling bin.

We took a bit of this coffee inside and brewed it through a Hario V60. I’ve definitely had some fresh coffee before, but not like this. The brewed coffee was great, and had all the notes you’d expect from an Ethiopian coffee. It was light, sweet and had a distinct berry taste. Steven also brewed some of Barkeater’s other current offering, Bali Blue Moon. This coffee is an interesting cup, as I am not a big Sumatra drinker, but this coffee was a great companion to the Ethiopian. The Bali Blue Moon was a little roasty, earthy and had a big body to it.

It was crazy to be able to drink coffee that had been roasted minutes earlier. I’m definitely excited to have another local coffee roaster in our area. A few short years ago the coffee situation in Albany was really lackluster and now there’s a ton of options.

You can get Barkeater Coffee through their web store, Our Daily Bread in Chatam or at Honest Weight Food Co-op. Steven will be doing a tasting on December 7 from 11a-2pm at HWF; go try some!

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Tavern Noodle Ramen Pop-up

On Sunday, December 7 at 11am, The Tavern will open it’s doors as Tavern Noodle, a Ramen Pop-up restaurant.

Since there is nowhere to get ramen locally, it’s pretty common to mention ramen and have people assume you’re talking about the broke college kid food, which unfortunately is most people’s only experience with ramen. The following video should give you a good idea of what actual ramen is and a primer of what to expect from Tavern Noodle.

Check out the menu, and if you’re even a little curious to try a real bowl of ramen, go get one on Sunday. If there’s enough of a demand, who knows, maybe we will get an actual ramen spot.