BeaN and I had the pleasure of stopping by this place a couple of weeks ago. A friend recommended it and we decided to give it a try. We did a Monday lunch.
It was kinda hard to find given that it is below street level and I am looking impaired. Basically your landmark is the Bank of America building. Café Alma is located in the red brick building directly across the street (south side) at 260 First Avenue South.
The atmosphere was inviting and immediately upon entry BeaN and I were thinking that the place was gonna be at least a two timer, just to ensure we gave it a fair shake, no matter what our lunch was like.
Serendipitously, we encountered our friends husband having lunch with one of the establishments insiders so we were able to make a foursome and also talk in more detail about the place. We gathered through conversation that the chef is not classically trained per se, but rather picked up his skills touring with (cooking for?) Cirque du Soleil, which helps explain the like momma used to make feel of some of the dishes.
We opted for a lunch of appetizers, since it was hard to get past them and on to the entrees. We had:
Steak Tartare: IMHO, too many establishments shy away from this simple but elegant dish, for liability reasons I suppose. Café Alma did it right. Nicely seasoned and served with crustini with some Dijon sauce for additional flavor, not that it was necessary.
Hummus trio: Smoked eggplant hummus, citrus hummus and a lentil & fig hummus served with flat bread and feta cheese garnish. All good.
Calamari: No safe just fry it and try it approach for Café Alma. Sautéed with capers and crushed tomatoes is the order of the day for them. Served over rocket and accented with Asiago. We love it when a place can do those tentacled creatures with flair and no deep fat. Only downside was there was not enough bread to soak up all that wonderful sauce.
First visit impression is Café Alma is a keeper. Will post on dinner experience when we get it done.
Café Almas website provided, it loads slowly though.