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Restaurants & Bars

Alta - review

jacinthe | Sep 21, 2004 01:43 PM

Friday night was one for the girls. Reservations were made for four for 8:30 at Alta. Small dishes. The majority of the silly guys we know don't like to share food, so we were all very excited. What with the rain and all, we got there a touch late - though I did call to let them know of our traffic woes - but we were seated immediately when we finally got there. Led upstairs and through the kitchen, I thought - ohno, they're seating us in some dark corner because we're late! - but no, the front part of the 2nd floor is just more seating, cozily intimate with perhaps just 10 tables or so, overlooking the street.

We might be girls, but we're girls who like to eat. And thusly, we ordered: (no, I do not have that good a memory. They have a website with a menu.)

*Fried goat cheese with lavendar-infused honey. Two orders. As one girl said, this is exactly what she'd want to eat after a hard day at work. Balls of lightly breaded goat cheese, perfectly fried, drizzled with honey. It was so simple, yet divine. We definitely fought over who got the last bite. Then ordered a second serving. And again fought over the last bite.
*Bacon-wrapped dates, olives and almonds. Almonds stuffed into the cavities of either dates or olives, which were then wrapped in bacon. I preferred the sweetness of the dates to the saltiness of the olives,
but both were good in their own respective rights.
*Sauteèd Sea Scallops, oven roasted tomatoes & garlic, basil puree. This was the only dish that took forever to come out - although we ordered it with the first wave of dishes, it came out at the very end. Therefore, I was on the fuller side by the time I got around to tasting this, and can't remember much. I do remember liking it though, and wishing it had come out earlier so that I could've fully appreciated it.
*Rosemary sourdough, smoked salmon, chive mascarpone, black currants. I can't remember this dish. Why?
*Greek salad, Cerignola-infused olive oil, cabernet sauvignon vinegar. Simple and a nice refreshing change from all the heavier foods we ordered.
*Red bliss potatoes, fork-crushed and fried, with smoked trout crème fraiche. Yummy. One can never go wrong with fried potatoes.
*Grilled chorizo wrapped Gulf shrimp, whipped avocado lime mousse. Thin slices of chorizo wrapped around shrimp, atop a drizzle of the whipped avocado stuff. A pleasant combination.
*Oven-roasted shallot risotto, Grana Padano. Two orders. We nearly licked the bowl clean. Need any more be said?

Everything was very simple, yet exquisitely prepared. The dishes weren't overly fussy nor confusing to the tastebuds. The flavours really came through.

But, we were not done. Hah! Desserts were:

*Sweet lemon tart. Almost like lemon bars, but not quite. I like citrusy desserts, so this definitely hit the spot.
*Crèma Catalan. Nice substantial caramelised top layer. Yummy custardy rest.
*Saffron-white wine poached pear with lemon crème fraiche and mint. I don't like poached fruits, but had to admit that this one - if I were a poached fruit fan - was good.

Service was attentive and prompt, even though we were removed from the rest of the restaurant. I'd definitely go back here again, with a smallish group, or even on a date. (Downstairs was noisier, so I think I'd choose to sit upstairs in either case.)

Tab, for all that food and 2 bottles of wine came to somewher around $50-some/person. Not too bad, considering the large amount of food - of good food - that we ordered.

Note: You can order the WHOLE menu for $275. I might just have to get a group of people together to do this (they recommend six). And then I'd have to order an extra dish of fried goat cheese just for me, and
be a very very happy camper.


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