I had been looking forward to going to Alias for some time. I live in the neighborhood, and relished the prospect of a casual, reasonably-priced local spot with fairly unfussy but slightly elevated cuisine. A few friends had told me they'd been, which I apparently mistook for an endorsement.
First of all, the service at Alias may have been the worst I have experienced in the city. It was 9pm on a Wednesday night, the place was half-full (it is not large) and there were two people working. It took interminable amounts of time to order drinks, then receive the drinks, then finally convince the waiter to let us order our food. I kind of knew I was in for some trouble when I ordered a bottle of wine for the table, (as in, pointing at a bottle on the menu, and saying its name, and saying, "We'll have the...") and the guy brought four glasses of wine instead of the bottle.
Looking beyond the slow and somewhat dazed service, the food was certainly nothing to write home about. The duck confit, supposedly Alias' most celebrated menu item, was reasonably decent, though the addition of goat cheese pretty much meant that the appetizer tasted like goat cheese, which, while certainly enjoyable, is hardly inspired. My appetizer--heirloom tomatoes with gnocci--featured severely underripe tomatoes, and the gnocci were fried and greasy. My friend's scallops with smoked tomato broth were, again, serviceable, though perhaps seared too much on both sides.
For entrees, we had the summer vegetable lasagna, two orders of the tuna, and the cod, which I made the mistake of ordering. The cod was a real mess, with the bland fish unassisted by a sickly-sweet tomato sauce. I didn't touch it. The tuna, with avocado, grilled peaches and bok choy, had little taste itself (despite the promise of a "Tabasco aioli"), though the sides--especially the grilled peaches--were interesting. I have nothing to say about the lasagna other than, well, again, if everything else had been ok, this would've been, too.
Has anyone else had a similar experience, or was I just having a bad night? I had really looked forward to going to this place more regularly, but given the wide availability of reasonably-priced and good restaurants around there (Cube 63, Tapeo, Max, Supper, to name a few) I'm afraid I won't be back.