Went to Alias last night on Clinton street. Food, ambiance and wine list were all terrific. The restaurant was surprisingly uncrowded, though I suspect our late reservation and the nice weather sending droves out of the city explains the lack of a packed house. The other 2 times I've tried to go there, I couldn't get it.
We started with the Bacalau and Summer salad. The summer salad was impeccably fresh arugula with a bit of crumbled fresh feta, sugar snap peas, baby beets and baby carrots in a fruity vinaigrette. Everything tasted as if it had been picked that morning, or at least from the Greenmarket that day. The Bacalau was lovely, and though I only tried a bite was a lovely potato and salt cod concoction with a "toasted egg," which looked much like a deep fried soft boiled egg (didn't try the egg), but the cod/potatoe part was outstanding and similar to a tapas dish we had in Barcelona.
For mains we had the salmon poached in olive oil, with fava beans, chorizo and poblano peppers; and the hanger steak chirasco with mashed potatoes and grilled zucchini. Both were terrific. The salmon was a large portion, but very light and the accompaniments were quite flavorful. the addition of the chorizo and poblano added a terrific kick. The hanger steak was remarkably tender, juicy and flavorful. The garlic mashed were great and the zucchini had perfect grill marks and wonderful charred/grill flavor, almost carmelizing the outside. To accompany we had an outstaning Montelpuciano. the wine list is small and carefully selected, as is the entire menu.
For dessert, we shared the special strawberry shortcake made with tiny organic stawberries and fresh whipped cream with a terrific Moscato to drink. The stawberries were unbelievably sweet and complimented the floral notes in the wine perfectly. The shortcake was biscuity, not too sweet, not too cakey, just the right foil for the strawberries and rich cream.
I will definitely be heading back to Alias soon. Also want to try aKa cafe, their sister restaurant. Clinton street is definitely the hottest ticket in town right now, in my opinion.