Lost and Found (Albany, NY) Review: By Matt Masterson

Written by on October 1, 2022

If you are mostly dead, your friends take you to see Miracle Max. If you are hungry, your friends should take you to see Max Clement at Lost & Found in Albany. 

I first met Max in the winter of 2021 when he was working at Rosanna’s in Albany – an outstanding Italian restaurant you should also eat at – so I was excited to hear that he was taking over the kitchen at Lost & Found. 

Lost & Found has always punched above its weight class with better than you might expect food coming out of that little kitchen tucked into the back corner. It still does. 

The kitchen is open for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and for brunch on Sunday. The bar is also open on Wednesdays. Go online to verify this as we all know that so many bars and restaurants still have changing hours and staffing issues. Thanks Covid. 

I was focused on brunch. If brunch isn’t your thing you can get a lot of the dinner menu at brunch, so there should be something for everyone. Or just go there for dinner. 

The brunch menu is eclectic, which, if you know Max, makes sense. 

With charcuterie being one of my great weaknesses I had to start with the country pork terrine, served with beer mustard and grilled bread. Did I go to a French bistro by mistake? Yeah, it was that good. I should have ordered a glass of red wine with it, but I was already halfway through my Bloody Mary (also very good) and that probably would have been too much of a change up.

Next, I had to have the blackened shrimp and grits, served with cheesy grit cake, spicy sauce and poached eggs. Was I back in New Orleans? Here Max channels his inner Paul Prudhomme. This is blackened. This is spicy. This is done so well it maybe would have brought a tear to the late Chef Paul’s eye (and not just because of the heat). I can offer no higher compliment. 

With this I had a buttermilk biscuit with jam and butter, which I absolutely did not need to eat. As good as any biscuit I’ve had (similar to Zoe’s, but she moved to L.A. and doesn’t make me biscuits anymore). I suspect Max is hiding someone’s southern grandma somewhere in that tiny kitchen. 

While I was eating too much and reading the menu to begin planning my next visit I noticed how many vegetarian and vegan options were available. As a dedicated carnivore, I knew I was not the best person to judge such dishes. This problem was quickly solved with a phone call to my mostly vegan, always vegetarian friend Kate who immediately agreed to meet me for brunch the following Sunday. Everyone should have a friend like Kate. She is mine. Find your own. 

After ordering a drink from the excellent bartenders – have I mentioned that Lost & Found has an entire roster of excellent bartenders (and servers, hello Sarah Jane) – we settled on a shared appetizer, the tomato salad, a vegan dish even I love. I was eating bowls of August tomatoes with salt and pepper long before I ever heard the word vegan, but today it is vegan. C’est la vie.

One of the cruelties of living in the Northeast is how short the tomato season is, but it was the perfect time of year for it and it was wonderful. Likely gone from the menu by the time you read this, you’ll have to wait until next year for the next iteration. It will be worth the wait. 

Now we diverged. Kate ordered the seitan wrap. I tried seitan wings once (she made me) and I thought they tasted like a fried kitchen sponge soaked in hot wing sauce, so we will take her word on this one. She said it was the best-cooked seitan she had ever had. “They always overcook it and this is not over-cooked,” she specifically said. 

Our mutual vegan friend Pretty Michael requested that we bring him something to eat and Kate ordered one for him as well. He also declared it to be exceptional. So there you are. 

I ordered the chilaquiles – tortilla chips, salsa verde, pickled jalapeños, radishes, cilantro, and sunny eggs with crispy chicken. This is a dish that in my mind only goes one of two ways – great or glop. No glop here. Another solid hit. 

Want something more traditional? The breakfast sandwiches I saw looked fantastic. The breakfast burrito of the week looked like it weighed five pounds. Just want a burger or a chicken sandwich? Can’t go wrong. 

So, if you find yourself in North Albany on Sunday at brunch time by yourself or with friends, you can go to one place and have food from France, Mexico, the Big Easy, from the south, and the northeast. Other places too. I haven’t eaten the whole menu yet. The corned beef hash is next on my list.

My advice? Go see Max at Lost & Found for dinner or brunch. Have a few drinks while you’re there. And then have fun storming the castle.

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