West 10th Part II: Alta
So directly opposite from Piadina is a slightly larger (bi-level) but still intimate tapas restaurant called Alta. Again, desecend a couple stairs, yet this time find yourself greeted by a cellar-style bar with A-M-A-Z-I-N-G sangria. Yum. I had to wait a minute for my large party (another birthday) to arrive and while doing so realized that I too had once arranged a dinner party here. It was a blizzard out and we were the only people crazy enough to brave the elements. That was a younger, more naive me. Sigh.
Oh, our table is ready. If it were my birthday I would not want to be seated in this table directly next to the host/serving stand. Not to mention that they sat two people on one side, three people on another and one on the end. Asymmetry semi-repulses me. Just south of the first mini dining area is an enchanted room furnished with the same wooden tables, but look up – greenery adorns the balcony railing…very Lord of the Ringsy. If you are on a date, judge him (or her) by where you sit as second level, railside is the only way to go.
We sat down at our table and after failing to bring the entire party menus – I had to reach behind me and get them myself! – the bus boy proceeded to spill six glasses of water on the birthday girl. Poor Essie. Luckily she’s a good sport. They brought us six drinks to make up for it, but never adequately replaced las aguas. AND I thought they should’ve asked us what we wanted rather than just making us these fruit punchy drinks because I certainly wouldn’t have chosen that. I WANTED SANGRIA.
Onto the food: It was delicious – however, like the agua, sporadically served. Dietary restrictions of several guests at our table forced us to try basically everything on the menu. The crab canonlini and the lamb meatballs were yums. The date/gorgonzola dealie (center) was so so. I loved the tuna tartare, but I always do. The cheese plate was good and had this peanut buttery spread, which I was informed were not peanuts, but tasted like peanuts, that pleased my palate. The service: Shoddy at best even though the maitre’d took such a liking to me that he insisted on escorting me to the door of the ladies room. “Upstairs, take a left, first door on the right,” would’ve done just fine thankyouverymuch.
Alta 64 West 10th Street, near 6th Avenue; 212-505-7777; Dinner Daily
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