West Village, New York
When you open the door to the stately brownstone in the West Village that Alta calls home, you are immediately enveloped in the wafting aroma of deliciousness – a mixture of warm cheese, salty olives, pungent wine – and your stomach starts growling before you ever reach your table.
Alta feels like a Spanish or Moroccan hacienda, with a center courtyard and a second floor dining area that wraps around the building, leaving a two story courtyard in the middle. We sat on the upper floor, eye level with a large wooden chandelier that, combined with a plethora of candles, bathed the restaurant in a golden light.
The menu is a tome of tapas, crunched onto a single sheet of typewriter paper. I read through it twice and still couldn’t fully process all of the options. Luckily, every single thing on the menu sounded delicious – with creative and surprising combinations of ingredients. My sister and I order five or six small plates to share – my favorite was an inventive crispy brussels sprout dish with green apples, pistachios, and crème fraiche, which exploded with flavor in every bite. Another winner was a spicy spaghetti dish with pepperoncini, bonito flakes, and a sticky sauce that I couldn’t quite figure out but definitely enjoyed. Slightly less successful was a grilled Japanese eggplant dish with feta and pickled onions – it was beautifully presented but I didn’t think the flavors complemented each other especially well. We also ordered a delicious old standby – bacon wrapped dates – which did not disappoint, but was served with bacon wrapped green olives as well, which was an innovative, but extremely salty, twist.
The combination of flavorful food, thoughtful décor, and energetic atmosphere definitely make Alta worth a visit.More information Alta http://altarestaurant.com/ 64 W 10th Street New York, NY 10011 212-505-7777