I’m not so sure about eggplant. It has a strange color and texture. I’ve tried it in small portions, still never trusting it completely. I’ve certainly never ordered it as a main dish, until I visited Peter Pause Restaurant [535 Nott St, Schenectady, NY 12308]. Peter Pause was at the top of my ‘places to eat’ list for the longest time. I wanted to go to try the eggplant parm, but I wanted Jeff to be able to accompany me to get their meatballs. I had heard good things about both. Why we had waited so long to go was their difficult hours. Only open for breakfast and lunch weekdays? That makes things for an out-of-towner pretty difficult. One magical day it worked out and we headed over. We got there earlier than the major lunch rush, a bit after 11AM and easily found a spot across the street. To my dismay, confusion, and later happiness, I saw a new looking white banner on the front of the restaurant “Now Open Saturdays 7AM-1PM.”
Oh. I see. Well, all those months of crazy planning and scheming to get there on a weekday and now you say you’re open on Saturdays too?! Well, guess that just makes it all the easier to return, Peter, because you’re food is phenomenal. Nothing fancy here, a nice Mom & Pop open since 1958, probably doesn’t look too different now than it did then. We picked a nice quiet table in the corner and watched everyone roll is as we waited for our food. Business men and women, friends for lunch, cops, old timers greeted by name, the whole neighborhood was here. Service is good and friendly, we didn’t feel like outsiders, my always vanishing water was constantly refilled. The eggplant parm came out. With trepidation, yet gleaming hope, I took the first bite of my dish.
You already know the outcome, it was amazing. Thick cut hunks of white bread were an excellent vessel for the delicately sliced and thinly layered eggplant – whose texture and taste were not strange now, but delicious and familiar slathered in a comforting red sauce. This sandwich is not picked up and shoved in your mouth, but requires a fork and knife. This also helps slow down the process of eating it, which is a good thing because it should be savored. I called my mom after to tell her that her once pb&j daughter now eats eggplant. Anyway…Jeff got his meatball sandwich and loved every bite.
Meatballs and red sauce, just the way they should be. Now as full as can be, maybe you should walk it off back across the street at Jackson’s Garden, or go back home and take a nap.