ALEXANDRIA BAY Anyone who has ever been to the Bay has probably seen the North Star Restaurant out on the main highway.
Its been there for years. Ive driven by it a million times but never stopped.
Last Sunday, I had occasion to visit friends who live out that way. They suggested we meet for lunch at the North Star. There arent many places in this summer tourist town open in the winter, so we headed for the eatery on the outskirts of town.
Just before noon, there was a modest crowd inside. Its spacious and bright with lots of windows. Theres plenty of seating at tables, booths and a long counter. The restaurant looked quite clean except for some table debris on the floor.
We were greeted by a pleasant young man with a welcoming smile who indicated that we could sit wherever we liked. We chose a corner table, and our smiling waiter, Damien, was at our table in a flash with menus, offering coffee to get our culinary adventure underway.
Its a three-page menu covering breakfast, lunch and dinner. Damien told us that breakfast is available until 2 p.m. but dinner is served only during the busier summer months.
The usual suspects are offered on the breakfast menu eggs, bacon, sausage and ham in various configurations along with breakfast burritos, omelets and chocolate chip pancakes.
We ordered the big boy breakfast ($7.99). Actually, the lady who ordered it asked if there was a big GIRL breakfast, but Damien, who appeared to be the only server, had no time for joking around.
The big person breakfast, we decided to call it, consisted of two eggs (our choice of over easy), two pancakes, two sausages and two strips of bacon.
The eggs were perfect. We flavored up the pancakes with a slathering of butter and thick and sugary syrup from a big squeeze bottle on the table definitely not the real stuff. The sausage links were of good size, but quite salty and once cut into, oozed a lot of grease. The bacon was very dry and unappealing looking and had a bit of a fishy aftertaste. Interesting.
We got a side of home fries ($1.99) to go with our big breakfast. It was a relatively small portion of cubed potatoes that could have used more flavor and been served hotter.
The lunch menu offers deli sandwiches, hot sandwiches, burgers and dogs, and specialty sandwiches like the one we got, a Reuben ($8.99).
The tasty sandwich was chock full of corned beef along with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. The rye bread was nicely grilled, crisp and buttery.
The bottom was soggy in the center, maybe from the sauerkraut? The fries accompanying the sandwich were ordinary.
We tried a hot cup of the homemade soup of the day ($1.99), vegetable beef. It was quite hearty with a nice array of veggies (celery, carrot, potato) along with nice pieces of prime rib, all swimming in a light beef broth. Very enjoyable.
Chicken quesadilla is priced at $7.99, but for an extra buck you can get it with onions and peppers. The flour tortilla sandwich was cut into three wedges, revealing the contents.
There was a good amount of grilled chicken chunks, tiny pieces of onion and green peppers, tinier pieces of finely diced tomatoes and a very limited amount of cheese.
The wedges were impossible to pick up without the chicken falling out. It needed more cheese to glue the ingredients together. While the chicken was plentiful, it was also overcooked and very dry. Salsa and sour cream were supplied, but even they couldnt rescue the poor quesadilla.
At the same time Damien placed our check on the table, we asked him if there were any desserts available, even ice cream. The answer was a very pleasant no.
Lunch for three came to $32.27 before tip.
There was a long delay between the time we ordered our food and the time it arrived, certainly not our waiters fault. He was attentive throughout, appearing when our coffee cups were one sip from empty with more warm goodness, perfect timing on his part throughout our visit.
The mens room needs attention. I didnt mind some paper towels that missed the garbage pail, but theres no excuse for the accumulated dirt on the light switch and the door.
North Star Restaurant (it says restaurant on the side of the building but diner on the menu and the credit card receipt) is really more a diner than a restaurant. Its open seven days a week serving breakfast and lunch from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.
You can contact restaurant reviewer Walter Siebel via email: email@example.com.
North Star Restaurant
126 Church St.
Alexandria Bay, N.Y.
North Star Restaurant offers a diner-style menu, serving breakfast and lunch daily.
WINTER HOURS: 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. seven days a week
Their homemade vegetable beef soup was very enjoyable. The grilled Reuben was nicely done, chock full of tasty corned beef.