A: Never before the third date.

Q: When is the right time to take your sweetheart to dinner at The Fountain?

Here’s why:

Date 1: You’ll probably have to drop some $change$ on the first date to let her know you like her.  No shock there, eh?  Records indicate that Western culture has known this for ~2000 years.  Case in point:  

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” -The Bible, Matthew 6:21.    aww…  TESTIFY!

Date 2: Let her pick the place.  If she says “Olive Garden is my favorite,” agree to meet her there and stand her up to cry in her all-you-can-eat bread and salad; never call back.  I kid, I kid.  Really though, let her pick.  If she picks Olive Garden, go, and talk about…I dunno, books. 

Date 3: Now consider The Fountain.  If you like her enough for a 3rd date, this may be the spot for you.  This will show her you like good food, even when you’re slummin’ it. 

This is the ultimate comfort-food joint.  When the mercury drops, we go to warm-up (body and disposition).  We rarely deviate from our regular dishes.  I can’t speak for the rest of the menu, but we always start with their excellent French onion soup.  It takes a while to prepare (20-30 min) as they always bake it to order.  It’s worth the wait, though.  This is an excellent dish for benchmarking any restaurant.  If they can’t do FOS right, odds are they aren’t going to meet the bar on any of their dishes. 

On my first trip to The Fountain, several years ago, one of my friends visiting from out-of-town remarked, “This is the best French onion soup I have ever had.”  I remember his comment every time I have the soup.  Also, it’s a good size portion, loaded with gooey swiss cheese, so keep that in mind when you order your meal.   I busted out the trusty and inconspicuous spy-camera on a recent trip, and went to work:

The king of all FOSs!

How food should be.

The pizza here is also excellent.  It’s all about the crust; it’s terrific.  You might find it a little doughy if you are a thin-crust person, but the flavor is incredible; baked garlic and buttery flavors galore.  If we order a small pie (which isn’t very small) with red-sauce, we order the pizza “crispy.”  If we get a white pizza (I highly recommend this), we don’t specify, as it comes out great. 

Nice day for a white pizza…nice day to START AGAAAAAAAAAAAIN!

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amor, eh?

Another nice feature of this place is the cozy, yet bustling vibe.  It’s a neighborhood secret teeming with locals having a nice time; no airs or delusions of grandeur.  If you should go on a Fri/Sat evening, expect to wait for a table.  It’s usually jammed at those times with families, young couples, old couples, groups of friends, etc. 

During the week, and for lunch, the place is loaded with regulars.  I recommend a seat at the bar during these times as there is usually only one server on duty.  While at the bar, watch-out for regulars who will talk your ear off.  This place is very much like an English pub in that regard; you have been warned. 

The Bar

The bartenders are attentive, and the waitresses are often running around like crazy and seem a bit over-worked.  They aren’t the timeliest lot, and will often disappear into the kitchen (and out the back door) for what I suspect are little cigarette-breaks, but hey, no place is perfect.  Another charming thing about this place is that the waitresses are usually not greenhorned teenagers.  They are often Mom-esque older ladies that call you “hon” and/or “sweety” when you order (I’m a sucker for that) but are too busy to get too familiar (fine by me).  The place oughtta be an Albany, NY landmark. 

One last reason to wait until at least the 3rd date is that you’ll want to be sure you’ll be dating this person for a while.  If things don’t work out, chances are you’ll be seeing her there with HER future dates (awkward, eh?).  

5 Responses to “A: Never before the third date.”

  1. Lydia says:

    Alex, your friend is right! Best FOS we’ve ever had as well! Love that place. On our visits to Albany–that’s where we always want to go. Not too long ago, Alex Sr. was bragging about the soup to some of our friends.

  2. Albany Jane says:

    Oh. Man.

    I wasn’t too impressed with them the first time, but that was mainly because it was sooo slooow.

    However – French Onion Soup?! Holy cow, the cheese bubbles look so enticing.

  3. celinabean says:

    I am pretty sure it is an Albany landmark. My brother sometimes insists on going there straight from the airport when he arrives from his home in California.

  4. renee says:

    i haven’t been there in years! thanks for the reminder. we are up for an invite anytime. it is my personal goal in life to call someone i don’t know “hon” or “honey”. it’s going to happen one day. i know it.

  5. Lydia says:

    Celinabean’s brother and we have something in common. Straight from the airport to The Fountain!!!! Wow–was it ever delicious. Alex, thanks for the wonderful treat.