Being big fans of 71 Clinton and especially AKA Cafe, we were really anxious to try the owners' new restaurant Alias.
Made it down there this past Friday, during the second day of previews for the restaurant. All in all, the food was very disappointing but I'm hoping that they are still trying to nail everything down.
The restaurant is located at 76 Clinton, on the corner between Clinton and Rivington. I guess the place used to be a Spanish restaurant, and the owners have kept the old sign while lighting it up with a string of Christmas-like bulbs (I don't know, maybe they were there before). Inside, the restaurant decor is nice--it looks a lot like AKA Cafe and 71 Clinton with the same color scheme, partially exposed brick wall, and warm colors. Very small, the restaurant seats about 35 people.
Onto the menu. Since the restaurant was still in previews, they mentioned having an abbreviated menu. About 6 appetizers ($7-10), 3 entrees ($15-18), and one dessert. Wine list looks good--those of you who are similar with the format at 71 Clinton, this is pretty similar. A small collection of some more eclectic varietals and wineries both offered by the glass and bottle.
My companion and I chose the skate and fish cakes with an avacado-like paste and lamb shanks as our appetizers. The skate and fish cakes were pretty disappointing--the fish was not cooked very crispy and the cakes were too mushy for my taste. Texturely very unappetizing. The paste was not much better--like some weird Nickelodeon green goo. The lamb shanks were great--very well cooked and well seasoned. Nothing special to them, no accompanying sauce, just simple fare cooked well.
The entrees we selected were the hangar steak and pork tenderloin/cheeks with wide egg noodle and sauerkraut. Both extremely disappointing. I realize that hangar steak is not the most tender of cuts, but this was just downright poor. The meat took forever to chew and altogether not very appetizing. The worst dish of the night was the pork. While the pork cheeks were great, the accompanying sauerkraut and egg noodle combo didn't fare too well. At one point, my companion even alluded to it tasting something like a "wet dog".
We skipped dessert--it was some chocolate/gingerbread/pear cake that looked appetizing.
Maybe I'm being a bit over-critical for a restaurant that's self-admittedly still getting its feet wet and in previews, but we just weren't impressed at all. I mean, I love AKA cafe but Alias just didn't do it for me. I hope, though, that they hit their stride and improve over time but I thought I would report back to you guys first and let you know what I thought.
If anyone else has been, please chime in and tell us how your experience was.