What better way to escape the relentless snowfall this winter than by hiding out in a cozy, brick-lined restaurant warmed by a giant woodburning stove in the shape of the yawning god of wine himself – Bacchus.
On a recent stormy Sunday afternoon, the Family Chow battled the roads of downtown Troy to sample the pizza at Bacchus Woodfired. We weren’t surprised to find ample parking across the street, although we may have surprised the staff at Bacchus with our arrival. Nonetheless, a very friendly bartender/waiter greeted us and set us up at a table in minutes.
Stepping down into the basement location of Bacchus is a bit like stepping into a Harry Potter novel via the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. There are nooks and crannies everywhere including a very “cool little cove” tucked into a hallway between the bar and a larger open area near the kitchen. We were handed menus and directed to look for drink options on chalkboards placed around the room. Before Mom could embarrass Son and Daughter by asking for a butterbeer, she noticed the nice selection of craft beers and settled on a glass of Dogfish Head Namaste. All four of us liked the music playing in the background (a rare occurrence) and appreciated the cleanliness of the space.
The menu at Bacchus is pleasantly limited to a few appetizers, pizzas and pastas. We were on a mission to try the pizza, but did take note of the creatively named pasta dishes like the Shrimp Caprarius – a mix of shrimp, garlic, tomatoes, feta cheese, avocado and lemon served over linguine. We also noted the variety of standard and less-ordinary topping choices for both the pizzas and pastas including kalamata olives, figs, sundried tomatoes, bacon, pepperoni, feta and gorgonzola cheese.
Design Your Own Pizzas started at $6.95 for an 8” and $10.95 for a 12” with additional charges for toppings and sauce “upgrades”. There were several Specialty Pizzas and Pastas including a Broccoli Ultimatis pizza with a roasted garlic alfredo sauce and Rome’s Inferno pasta with chicken, sausage, jalapeno and pepperoncini.
We settled on an order of roasted garlic as an appetizer and three 8-inch pizzas: Plain Cheese, the Buffalo Chicken and the ‘Mozza Bella.’ Just as we were contemplating the best location for a secret passageway to the Room of Requirement, our appetizer arrived.
The advertised Italian bread had been replaced with what looked to be breadstick-shaped pizza crusts. Bland and unfortunately a bit dough-y, Mom was not impressed. Neither was anyone especially happy with the roasted garlic as it was overwhelmed with the addition of too much rosemary. We were glad to move on to the pizzas when they appeared after a short wait.
Each pizza was cut into four generous slices and was steaming hot. Daughter is a big fan of all things Buffalo, and was very happy with her first slice. She loved the thin crust that was “still fluffy” and could pick out each vital element of Buffalo flavor – gorgonzola, hot sauce and chicken. Mom also enjoyed it and was impressed that the chicken remained tender and not dry. Son stuck with his plain cheese pizza and managed to polish off two slices before signaling his approval. The Mozza ‘Bella” – topped with sliced meatballs, spinach and garlic – resulted in mixed reviews. Dad thought the meatballs were “bland”, while Mom loved the use of fresh spinach and thought the mozzarella was perfect. Everyone appreciated the woodfired crusts, blackened just enough on the bottom.
We would happily return to Bacchus to sample more pizza, perhaps some pasta, maybe some wine and for sure the unique atmosphere. We give Bacchus 3.5 C’s for service, 3.5 C’s for family friendliness and 3 C’s for food.
The Family Chow hails from the Capital District and review area restaurants based on service, food and family friendliness.