Morette's, Schenectady, NY
1126 Erie Boulevard, Schenectady, NY 12305
Date visited: Multiple occasions
Type of eatery: Roadside diner
Dish I ordered: King Size Steak Sandwith, Duffy's Brownsville BBQ
What I got: Steak sandwich: A massive portion of steak on a fresh steak roll, piled with toppings. BBQ: A heaping portion of smothered, pulled pork on a hard roll, with an equally healthy portion of fresh potato salad, a little cup of cole slaw, and some pickle slices.
Price paid: Steak sandwich: $4.98 + $0.50/topping; BBQ: $4.95
During my first week of work at Siemens PTI, I was unfamiliar with Schenectady, so I visited the most visible places for lunch. Morette's sign boldly reads, "King Size Morette's Steak Sandwich Restaurant," complete with a picture of a crowned king giving an "okay!" hand gesture, so of course the King Size Steak Sandwich ($4.98) was the first thing I tried.
First, though, I'll talk about the restaurant itself. Mr. Morette visited Philadelphia in the 1940s, and he was so impressed by the Philly Cheesesteak that, in 1947, he opened his own steak sandwich restaurant in Schenectady. Today, the restaurant still swarms with business, and is always packed for lunch. The walls are adorned with blown-up historic photos of Schenectady, including one featuring the restaurant next to the now-filled-in Erie canal.
Morette's isn't a place for the health-obsessed. Fare consists of steak sandwiches, steak burgers, and a little of most other forms of mainstream meat, as well as a small number of vegetarian dishes. The menu has something for everyone, but it concentrats on beef.
On my first visit, I arrived just past the lunch crowd, and I seated myself at the counter. My order was promptly taken: I ordered the King Size Steak Sandwich with tomato sauce and cooked onions (two of the three free toppings). I watched the sandwich being made directly ahead of me. I received a massive portion of steak on a large steak roll, smothered in sauce and onions. After one failed attempt to lift the sandwich, I resigned to using a knife and fork to eat it. The steak was thoroughly cooked and, although not truly a Philly-style steak sandwich, it was nonetheless very tasty - easily the best-tasting steak sandwich I have had in the area.
On subsequent visits, I tried the steak sandwich with various toppings. Though toppings are a bit steep (50 cents per topping on the King Size sandwich), they do add to the enjoyment of the sandwich. Unfortunately, by default they use american cheese on the sandwiches, and I didn't think to ask about other cheese alternatives. Also, even ordering the sandwich with "double cheese" doesn't really make it cheesy enough for my taste - the volume of steak on the King Size sandwich tends to overwhelm the melting cheese.
On a recommendation from a coworker, I tried the Duffy's Brownsville BBQ (4.95), a hickory-smoked pulled pork BBQ sandwich with choice of salad. (I've tried potato and macaroni, both made fresh on-site.) Also fittingly included are a little cup of cole slaw and a few pickle slices. Morette's BBQ pork sandwich is easily the second best BBQ pork I've had in the area. The sauce is just the right combination of hickory and tang and sweet; the pork is tender and thoroughly cooked. The potato salad contained mushy chunks of potato, and although not of terribly unique flavor, tasted good.
Service has been prompt on each of my visits, the check is usually left with me even before I finish eating. Although some may feel such a quick presentation of the check is rude on the part of the server, I in no way feel rushed at Morette's, and I enjoy not having to wait - upon finishing, I simply leave my tip and head to the register to pay.
I should note that, at $4.98 and $4.95 respectively, the King Size Steak Sandwich and Duffy's Brownsfille BBQ are costwise on the low end of the menu. Most sandwich platters are between $6-7, with a few items $8+.
Morette's also offers a small selection of low-end bottled beers.
Rating: ***½ (3.5 out of 5 stars)
Tasty food, although not the most healthful food.
Would I eat there again: Definitely.