I recently visited Corning, NY and found a real gem tucked behind a drug store and car wash: Spencer's Restaurant and Mercantile. I visited this site to look for a nice place to eat after my niece's Christening. I initially read the review by "smdc" that seemed downright rude. I rarely put too much stock into reviews because they're sometimes written by people bitter because they had to wait for a table or something else insignificant. Nonetheless I had resigned myself to just asking around when we got into town. What was surprising to me was that after asking 5 (yes 5) different people, including the hotel desk clerk and the waiter at another restaurant at breakfast, they all said Spencer's was the place to go. We went for dinner and only one word can describe it--SPECTACULAR. The menu was just huge! My wife had the fettucine, I had a delmonico, Uncle Sal and Aunt Frida had the Prime Rib, our grandparents enjoyed salmon and crab, and the kids had a rotisserie chicken and a plump burger (no McDonald's product here)! The waitress even offered to warm up a bottle for our niece. The food was exceptional, the service impeccable and the atmosphere cozy. We all agreed it was simply one of the finest meals we had EVER had (and for under $150 for a party of 9 with beer, wine and dessert!!!!!). The fact that the place was packed and we had a short wait for a table only showed us that there is one place for excellent dining in Corning--Spencer's!
Favorite Dish: Because everyone was so impressed with their meals, we ended up eating "family-style", with everyone sharing and nibbling on each other's dinners. Everything was wonderful. The beef was perfectly cooked and flavorful, so that has to be my favorite. I can't wait to come back to Corning!
This is a "family" restaurant in a very old building (which looks like it could use a renovation).
Inside the decor is old furniture and dark wood. It was clean and the staff were friendly. The service was fairly quick considering the few people on staff and the number of customers.
The food was very good and the portions were good and the price was not unreasonable.
The expertise of the cooks is Italian foods which dominate the menu choices. The brothers who own the place are originally from the old country. The lasagna they make is pretty much the same as what my grandmother used to make... nice and thick with a lot of meat filling.
The Chicken Parmigiana or the Linguini are good choices also because of the special home-made sauces they use (lots of basil). The salads that came with the meal were a bit skimpy and they did not have oil-vinegar dressing (in the cruets) but had Balsamic Vinegar instead.
There were plenty of bread sticks and rolls which I tend to pig-out on.
The prices were about $10 per person plus a bit more for beverage,tax,tip. Decent prices for the amount of food and the good quality of the food.
Where to start? My "1/4 pound" burger was the size of a McDonald's hamburger, not the Quarter Pounder but the HAMBURGER. It was tiny. The bun it was served on was on of those cheap wonderbread buns that go for 99 cents a dozen. The small sprinkling of chips (not fries, chips!) it was served with were stale. This cost me $5!!!
I had the unfortunate luck to order a side of mashed potatoes. It was warm but watery with what looked like a tablespoon of gravy - I couldn't finish it even though mashed potatoes are my favourite.
My wife had chicken parmigiana which was ok going down but it didn't stay in her for long - I'll spare you the details. Disappointed all around and gotta write to AAA about their recommendation...
Favorite Dish: Favourite dish! Ha, ha, ha! My favourite dish was the one that they placed the bill on so I can get my butt outta there and to KFC down the street.
The Gaffer is a nice neighborhood steakhouse and pub. The atmosphere was a little bit on the old fashioned side
Favorite Dish: The 24 oz Flank Steak was good