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Alta - review

jacinthe | Jan 30, 2005 02:39 PM

So, I had to be in NY for the week, finding out about how my masters is virtually useless in helping me find a job (okay, the situation is not as dire as that, but sometimes it seems as though it is.) The downside was running all over the city in heels; the upside was getting to eat a lot. Thus, I unfortunately don’t remember a lot of details, but will try to piece things together as best I can.

Monday night, some friends and I went to Alta. I first went here last year, and loved it, and have eaten here at almost every return trip since. It’s the goat cheese. The fried goat cheese with lavender-infused honey. I think that I’d be happy with a large plate of this (all to myself!) and a glass of wine.

Since there were six of us, we got to try a lot of food. I don’t remember my reactions to all the food, but that which I do remember I’ve included.
*Fried goat cheese with lavender-infused honey. As hinted at above, I could rhapsodise over this dish forever. Goat cheese, in a nice crunchy crust, drizzled with the lavender honey. It’s an amazing dish. We ended up ordering four orders of these, as only three little goat cheese balls come per order.
*Lamb meatballs, shaved fennel, lebne
*’Taglierini’ of calamari with haricots verts and garlic chips. This was a delightful dish, calamari sliced so that they were noodle-like.
*Tuna tartare, chorizo, macadamia nuts, and hearts of palm.
*Steak tartare, mahon, smoked paprika, dates, and mint chiffonade. Served with little toasts.
*Caramelised cauliflower, manila clams, chorizo, golden raisins. I generally don’t like cauliflower, but this was a great dish. I don’t know how big a fan I was of the clam addition, but the raisins added a nice sweetness to the cauliflower.
*Grilled baby octopus, parsley coulis, and black olive puree
*Danish pork ribs roasted with kecap manis and coriander
*Sauteed foie gras, bruleed supremes of orange with allspice. This was amazing. The foie gras practically melted on the tongue, and the orange slices added a nice contrast in flavour.
*Spiced hanger steak and cherry tomato kebab, tzaziki, and almond oil. We got two orders of this because we liked it so much.
*Roasted duck breast, spiced potato cake, pear infused jus naturel. I always love duck. Thin slices of duck breast, cooked medium rare, and the potato cake was scrumptious.
*Risotto, with.. I don’t remember, but it’s not the shallot one listed on the website. I believe it had pancetta in it. It was nicely creamy, a wonderful dish.

I feel like we must have ordered more, but I don’t remember at this point. We liked everything we ordered. While the descriptions of some of the dishes might be overwhelming, somehow the flavours come together nicely. Pacing of the dishes was good, although towards the end service dragged a little. Sometimes it was hard flagging down a waiter to get more wine/water.

I am not a fan of their desserts here, and everyone else was full (and similarly not impressed by the dessert list), so we skipped that. It's always disappointing when a dinner menu is superb but the dessert menu is bleh. I don’t know how much the tab came to, as it was picked up by one of the group as a treat (always nice, especially when unexpected!)

It’s a beautiful space, and we were seated in the main room near the fireplace. I love that it looks older and almost weathered, unlike many restaurants which try too hard to be all sleek and trendy. This is a great restaurant – even better with large groups of people – and I highly recommend it. Then again, I love restaurants that serve small plates because then you can try a large variety of dishes.

Link: http://www.altarestaurant.com

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