For my Valentine gift to my boyfriend, I took him to ALTA Restaurant. It is a tapas restaurant in the west Village. It is tucked away on 10 street about 200 feet in from the main street, 6th avenue. If you do not know it is there, you will never know to visit.
You enter through a small wine bar that is bright enough to see but dim enough to feel relaxing. It is reached through the 1/2 basement entrance. The bar was ¾ filled and we walked to the hostess who’s spot was tucked between the bar and a wall. (like they were hiding her 🙂 ) I had made reservations, which were highly recommended. When I got there it was mostly full. Pass the bar was a sunken spot, then a partially raised dinning room with what would amount to a Spanish middle ages tavern like interior. It was not as loud though but not quiet like a purely white-gloved establishment.
We went upstairs to a table that overlooked the bottom dinning room. It was again dimly lit and from there we were able to get a better idea of the place. I peeked into the kitchen(one of them I think) later on and saw 6-7 male Latino cooks and all the ingredients used to make the tapas. The little plastic containers we had used to take away our food in school and also for preparing, they used as well.
Our waitress was nice. She had just started a few weeks before so she was not an expert on the menu in terms of taste, but she was helpful in identifying cooking style. We ordered in stints of two, the following: bacon wrapped olives with dates and almonds, beef Carpaccio w creme fraiche, micro greens and orange supremes, then we had a warm crab salad w warm jalapenos sauce, then had lamb sausage and falafel. Next we had a warm duck crostini w spicy cabbage and finally Brussels sprouts with pistachio, apples and some crème fraiche.
We really enjoyed the bacon wrapped olives. Next we liked the Brussels sprouts and the crab salad in that order. I thought that the crab salad sauce could have been stronger. The crab was very light and mild and would have benefited from a more full sauce. What we liked the least was the beef Carpaccio (thinly sliced raw meat). We liked the sausage and the duck about the same. I enjoyed the duck more than my boyfriend. I also liked the falafel and could see myself eating the lamb sausage again. To each his own, right?
The waitress was decent. She walked by many times and we just had to stop her to get her attention most of the times. We did not have to yell even though there was music in the background. The plates came out as soon as they were ready so we were always eating for the most part. I ordered as we were almost finished with a dish.
We had dessert. We asked the opinion of the server/waitress. She mentioned beignets out of the four I suggested. It was like a cross between zepoles and donuts. It was light and very lightly flavored. The dipping sauces were apple butter, nutty cream sauce and pure maple syrup. If we were piggish, we would have ordered a second batch or a second dessert.
Beware, they only take cash or American Express. My bill was high but this is a once in a long while thing. I did however stay within the budget I set. If you do that you will only spend what you mean to spend. Minus the dessert, and the drinks, and it would have been about 30 dollars less.
I give an 7.5 for ambience.
I give 7. for food.
I give about 4.5 for costs. You can’t go with a light wallet.
I give about 7 for good service.
Worth a try and there is the whole menu for 429 dollars. You get everything on the menu. It serves 9 plus people. I would say 20 is a fair number. We had 6 dishes and were full but not at the busting point. I prevented that as we passed on the sliders.
Until later. Ciao and happy eating.