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On Point: Schenectady's Point Cafe remains a neighborhood gem

On Point: Schenectady's Point Cafe remains a neighborhood gem

Mexican-American restaurant dishes up excellent homemade fare at reasonable prices
On Point: Schenectady's Point Cafe remains a neighborhood gem
Huevos a la Mexicana (inset) at The Point Cafe, pictured.
Photographer: caroline lee/for the daily gazette

The Point Cafe is one of those neighborhood places with reasonably priced homemade food, cozy surroundings and friendly staff. In short, it’s a gem.

If you’ve been there you already know that. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat. They’re open for breakfast and lunch. We arrived late morning and so tried both.

We were going to eat at one of the three umbrella tables in front until we took a look inside. The layout of the restaurant lends itself well to distancing. Off the main dining area with counter are two long and narrow smaller rooms. We ended up having one of the small rooms to ourselves; the other held two parties, one at each end of the room.

The interior is painted a cheerful yellow and green, same as the exterior of the building. The wooden chairs are comfortable, the tables covered in colorful striped cloths.

“They have everything,” said Sheryl, looking at the menu. “I don’t know if I want Mexican or Greek or American.”

Breakfast is served all day, and in addition to what you’d expect like pancakes and omelets, there are Mexican specialties. Choose beans instead of potatoes to go with your eggs, or have huevos rancheros ($9.99). Try a Mexican fiesta burrito, stuffed with scrambled eggs, grilled chicken, cheese, onions and sour cream ($10.99).

There’s soup made daily, grilled sandwiches, club sandwiches, burgers, wraps and salads. A basic burger with pickle and macaroni salad is $5.99. Add fries for a bit more.

But don’t limit yourself: The Point prides itself on authentic Mexican cooking. There are burritos, quesadillas and fajita burritos. Just choose your filling: chicken, beef taco meat, steak or shrimp. A taco salad is $11.99; a cheese quesadilla is $7.99.

Our server made a fresh pot of coffee for Sheryl and brought me a glass of lemonade. It’s not very sweet, but it grows on you.

Sheryl, who was having breakfast, ordered huevos a la Mexicana ($9.99) and was delighted with her choice. The scrambled eggs were mixed with fried onions, tomatoes and fresh jalapeños that had a bit of heat. Served alongside were beans and rice and a packet of warmed corn tortillas, all on a Mexican-style oversized plate. It looked delicious.

“I think these are homemade beans,” said Sheryl. “They pop when you bite them.” I tried them. The beans were creamy, not grainy like they can sometimes be, and very good.

She pointed out some especially good bits of huevos, with the tomatoes browned from the grill. She filled the tortillas with beans and rice and huevos, and rolled them up to eat. Delicious, she decided.

I covered lunch, with a grilled chicken sandwich on a hard roll with lettuce, tomato and pickle ($9.99). It comes with macaroni salad and a side of fries. “You get soup with that,” the server said. The day’s soup was chicken.

It went down easy, that soup, carrots, celery and tender chicken and tiny bits of pasta. Beads of fat glimmered on the surface, broadcasting its wholesomeness. This is the homemade soup you want when you need soup. Excellent.

My sandwich was substantial. I had to deconstruct it to take a bite. The grilled bulky roll looked like it came from a local bakery. The chicken, marinated in Italian dressing or spiedie sauce, was moist and flavorful. I wish the tomato wasn’t pink, since it’s August and we’re tripping over ripe tomatoes everywhere.

We both agreed that the fries were excellent. They’re the thick kind and they were cooked fresh, browned and lightly salted. The mac salad was creamy and looked homemade.

I hadn’t intended to finish the sandwich, especially the bulky roll, which was more bread than the chicken needed, but as we sat and talked after the meal, it disappeared bit by bit.

The tab for our very nice breakfast/lunch came to $25.88 before tax and tip.

We give the Point Cafe two thumbs up for charm, pleasant service, great homemade food and reasonable prices. I’d be pleased if it was my neighborhood place.

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