Aldine is right up there with Zahav, Vernick, High Street on Market, Brigantessa. Like Vernick and High Street, the focus is on small plates--very inventive, but for perhaps not for people looking for vast amounts of food for a cheap price. We however, found the creativity and value very good. Our party of four had everything on the menu except one main and one second as well as the two specials (crudo and stuffed zucchini blossoms). Chef George Sabatino has an amazingly creative and thoughtful menu, with many vegetarian options. He makes his own bread, as well as all dairy products including delicious cultured butter with salt flakes. He also supports area farmers (Three Spring Farms, etc) and is committed to local vegetable, dairy and meat producers.
Standout dishes: special crudo with sea scallops with picked vegetables and sprouts (amazing!), charred onion salads, roasted carrots, grilled zuccini, grilled pork belly (using a heritage Hereford pig, which I didn't even know existed raised by Jennifer Sabatino's father) and pork sausages. The main dish, fazzoletti (fresh pasta hankerchiefs with duck prosciutto) was one of the best pasta dishes we have had anywhere (in a city of standout pasta dishes with Le Virtu, Brigantessa, Il PIttore). I usually never like panna cotta (too bland), but Aldine's version is a standout with two types of cherries (pickled Rainer and sweet cherry preserves) and almonds.
Finally, wonderful beer list (two great drafts by Tired Hands made especially for Aldine), reasonably priced wine list and terrific service (Alex our waiter was terrific).
We will definitely be back and bring all our friends.