Brunch Review

The Shop

The Shop has always seemed to me like the epitome of Troy’s downtown revival. It caters to a younger crowd with an eclectic menu and specialty cocktails, all served in a setting that’s almost trying too hard to be trendy. There’s an interesting carpentry theme to much of the decor, including the beer taps and wall decorations.

I’ve found myself occasionally skimming through the dinner menu online with the hopes of planning a visit, but it usually seemed too disjointed. The various offerings of poutine, sandwiches, hot dogs, and “street food” never clicked – was it supposed to be a dinner destination, or somewhere you’d go for late night munchies?  So I put it aside for a while, until I was on the hunt for a new brunch spot in the Capital District.

I still can’t tell you if The Shop is worth a dinner visit, but I can tell you this about brunch: it’s probably the best place I’ve been in months. The menu isn’t huge, but it has a unique mix of dishes that range from a Korean stew with poached eggs to breakfast poutine to pork tacos.

On this particular outing, I was curious to try the merguez sasuage hash, served with a pork and lamb sausage, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, a harissa yogurt sauce, and topped with a fried egg.

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Merguez Sausage Hash at The Shop

This dish was incredible. The hash was served in a giant mound, studded with bits of sausage and a smooth sweet potato and vegetable base. The sausage had a mild sweetness to it along with hints of spices like cumin and coriander. The egg was cooked to perfection, with a touch of yolk spilling out into the plate when it was cut open. The sauce didn’t have too much of a harissa bite to it, but was instead mostly tangy and creamy from the yogurt. When mixed with the bits of chopped scallion along the outside of the dish, the flavors melded together seamlessly for a unique North African inspired breakfast plate. The only complaint that I could even muster was that the serving size was overwhelming, but I was desperate to eat every last bite.

We also sampled the rum raisin french toast, which is described on the menu as being creme brulee battered and served with rum spiked raisins and a cinnamon maple syrup.

Rum Raisin French Toast at The Shop
Rum Raisin French Toast at The Shop

This dish also had a pretty whopping serving size. The bread was thick cut, doused in sweetness, and delightfully tender inside. It was piled high with plump raisins and a stick of cinnamon. I had expected there to be raisins baked into the bread, but was pleasantly surprised by the generous topping of fruit and the lively flavor that it added to the dish. I’m still not completely sure what it means for bread to be creme brulee battered, but the pieces were pleasantly sweet without being cloying and overdone.

I tend to return too often to the same brunch spots in Albany that I know and love, but this was a great reminder that Troy also has a solid brunch scene. And it might have even been enough to convince me to finally stop by for dinner sometime soon.

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