I booked this table four months in advance. I could only get a reservation for 5:15. I had to leave my credit card number. I know the reviews were good. But seriously, could any restaurant be good enough for this level of hassle. Well, YES! Alo is perfection.
When they call to confirm your reservation you are advised that they have allotted you three hours to complete your five course-tasting menu. There is no a la carte, but you do have choice for each course. We decided to order one of everything and share. I am so glad. I would have hated missing any of it. Including all the extras. One of which was a bread course with the most wonderful in house churned butter. They brought me more. I could have eaten it with a spoon.
The descriptions of the dishes really just tell you their ingredients. They give you no idea of the excitement and joy you are about to discover. The cooking is imaginative with out being forced, creative yet not so experimental you don’t know what you’re eating. The snails were the best I’ve ever had… sorry Paul Bocuse. I could barely get John to share the pinenut and celery root puree served with wild mushrooms… and he doesn’t like mushrooms all that much. While the veal tenderloin literally melted in your mouth… how is that possible.
John was concerned the wine list was too young. Toni, the sommelier, explained they are a new restaurant. Only open since July, they are working on getting some older vintages. She then asked what a dream wine would be and helped John find a young bottle that met with his approval. As wine experts around the world can attest, this is no mean feat.
The restaurant is on the third floor of a nothing building above a piercing studio. It manages to be comfortable yet elegant. The tables are placed spaciously so you don’t hear your neighbor’s conversation. The music seemed to be all songs I loved, loud enough that I could hear it but not so loud we couldn’t have a chat. The light was both flattering and enough so I could read the menu. A miracle. I hate having to get out my phone to decide what I’m going to eat!
We arrived half an hour late… I was so stressed. Would they let us in? Would they have attitude? Would they rush us? No! Everyone could have not have been more gracious. From the woman who greets you on the main floor and pushes the button for the elevator to the owner/manager Amanda who helps you with your coat at the end, the service was exemplary. Not too formal, not too friendly. I felt like a VIP regular, which is what I hope to become.
In addition to the dining room where we sat, there is a chef’s counter that holds 6 and serves a 10-course dinner. There is also a bar that serves al a carte on a first come bases. Alo has changed their policy since I booked. They are now only accepting reservations for the next 60 days. Sadly, this makes it even harder to get a table. But you can put yourself on the cancelation list. I have. For any night at any time. Trust me, it is worth it!
Tasting menu: $95 per person (a bargain for what you get!)