Friday, February 4, 2011

Alto - Not Just A Simple Italian Bistro (New York City)



Before visiting Marea, one of my favorite dining experience in 2010, I actually first visited Michael White's two Michelin Star Italian restaurant, Alto. Like with Marea, I went with the 2 course lunch prix fixe menu at $41. Since I had eaten the pastrami sandwich at Katz's Deli for breakfast, I was hoping I could find some stomach space for Alto.

Bread Service


Trying to save room for the pasta and the seafood course, I had a bit of the focaccia with the provided olive oil. I enjoyed the warm temperature of the focaccia, but it was a shame I couldn't finish it.

Garganelli al Nero di Seppia all’Amatriciana

Garganelli al Nero di Seppia all’Amatriciana

This dish was the reason for my unplanned visit to Alto. I had heard about it previously and I had to try it for myself. The squid ink pasta was cooked perfectly, and so were the seafood. The baby calamari was literally melt in your mouth tender, and the cod tripe was fantastic. This was one of the best pasta dishes I've had. If it's on the menu, I'd highly recommend it!

Merluzzo con Patate e Pancetta

Merluzzo con Patate e Pancetta - olive oil poached cod, crushed potato, clams, pancetta

Since I had quite a large amount of meat for breakfast, I decided to go with the poached cod dish in a spicy seafood consomme. The fish was incredibly tender and flavorful. I loved the spicy consomme and the pieces of clams and pancetta added a nice flavor contrast to the cod. All in all, another fantastic dish that I had no trouble cleaning up.

Panna Cotta allo Zucchero Scuro

Panna Cotta allo Zucchero Scuro - Honey Roasted Pears, Oatmeal Tuile, Buttermilk Sorbet

So much for being full. If I was gonna do this meal right, I had to order dessert. When I saw the panna cotta, I knew I had a winner. Well, lucky for me, the panna cotta was of the maple flavored variety, my absolute favorite. The other components of the dessert were delicious and somehow the flavors and textures all meshed together. If this wasn't a fine dining establishment, I would probably have licked the damn plate. This was a great way to end the meal.

Petit Four

Petit Four

I'm not sure if these qualifies as petit four, but it was tasty nevertheless. I was pleasantly surprised with the meal at Alto, and even though it had 2 Michelin Stars, it exceeded my expectations and more. While I did prefer the then 1 Michelin Star Marea, Alto was definitely worth the visit. Michael White has started building an Italian Empire in NYC with Alto, Convivio, and Marea, and it's definitely a good idea to try one of his restaurants.

As I roam the streets of the Big Apple, full, happy, and a bit lighter on the wallet, where do I go to digest all the food I've consumed during the day? Why, Nintendo World at Rockefeller Center of course!

Nintendo World

11 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022-4213
(212) 308-1099


Anna A. said...

So jealous of your squid ink pasta! I've never had it before. Actually, I might just have to add it to my bucket list. You are just a jet setter, Danny! Come visit PDX.

Gastronomer said...

KFP - You are a champion eater. Pastrami for breakfast followed by a three-course lunch! Damn! What's the plan for dinner? Tasting menu, I bet!

Dan said...

that squid ink pasta is one of my faves ever :). Too bad the place is kind of stuffy.

nelehelen said...

damn, i HAVE to eat that squid ink pasta when i go to NY... whenever that is.. (sigh)

Kung Food Panda said...

Anna: That was one tasty pasta. I hope to visit PDX sometime down the road!

Cathy: Hey, go big or go home!

Dan: Agreed on both points. That's why I didn't want to go back this year :P

Helen: Alto was good, but I'd pick Marea over Alto.