This was our first occasion to dine at Taste in downtown Albany. In the evening, the primary access to Taste is on Beaver Street (which the city neglectfully has not signed) rather than South Pearl, but the multiple Valet Parking signs (and valets themselves) helpfully guided us to the entrance doors. We were greeted immediately at the door and our coats were checked. We were shown to our table in a pleasantly private booth. The dining room is of contemporary design, nicely lighted and appointed, with some central tables that are more than adequately spaced. Without pause, our server appeared, introductions were made, water was poured, drink orders taken, and menus presented. The evening specialties and regular offerings were varied and promised us an interesting meal of soups, salads, and plates (optionally large or small). There were at least five vegetarian alternatives for me (I selected two small plates for my main course) and five gluten-free alternatives for my wife. A pleasant surprise: she was served warm, gluten-free dinner rolls. We started with two different soups which both were meatless and gluten-free. The wine menu offered a good variety of wines by the glass and by the bottle. The meal in its entirety was excellently prepared (especially my wife's thinly sliced duck) and served professionally. Although we were interested in dessert, sadly the offering was limited to three primary choices. One was gluten-free but seemed a somewhat unappealing banana concoction. We settled for ice cream and sorbet from a surprisingly long list of available chilled options. Taking ambience, menu, food preparation, and service jointly into account, we agreed that Taste might be judged as one of the few excellent restaurants in Albany. We would recommend a greatly enhanced dessert menu (with gluten-free pasteries) and linen cloths to cover the bare table surfaces. And City of Albany--what about a helpful street sign at South Pearl and Beaver???
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