It’s probably inappropriate to post a photo taken at Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lodge, when the bulk of this post is about the food at Restaurant Alma, but here I’m going to do it anyway. The food at Alma was so tantalizing that I completely forgot to take photos before I dug into each dish. We had time to kill, at the Motor Lodge. And the decor and clientèle were more interesting there, anyway.
Steve and I set off on our celebration of our 4th wedding anniversary by going first to Psycho Suzi’s, for a drink. I’d wished to visit that place for many years, and our reservation for later at another place in the neighborhood made it easy. I’d even scoped out the drink menu and picked out a drink, ahead of time: the “Coconaut.” Steve enjoyed a “Suffering Bastard.” We also got a pita & hummus plate, which helped curb the hunger before our 7:30 dinner date, and soften the blow of the strong drinks. That plate was quite good- the hummus had a nice texture and warm spice flavor, and the pitas were fresh and warm.
Around 7pm, we headed to Alma, and got seated right away, which was a good start. Several years ago, we ate at Alma for the 2nd or 3rd time. The food was good, but there was a disastrous combination of various service errors or missteps (the details escape me, now), and we’d avoided the place since. Due to numerous positive recent reviews from friends, we were willing to try it again.
We’ve very glad we did! Here’s what I ate:
- Warm Parmesan Flan: crispy artichokes, black olive puree, maple syrup. Flan as a first course? It was very light, and especially savory. A great start.
- Saffron Spaghettini Pasta: spring onion, artichokes, chèvre. I don’t normally go for a pasta course at dinner, but having a few more of those crispy artichokes (they were also with the flan) was a treat, and this was a small portion of perfectly-done spaghettini.
- Sautéed Halibut: braised fennel sauce, favas, lemon & parsley. Halibut’s always my favorite fish, and this fillet had a lovely crust. The fennel had most of its fennel-flavor braised out of it, but the texture was a lovely tongue-teaser. And the favas! Oh, I’m starting to love beans, especially this variety.
- Dessert was a feature (special): lavender ice cream, shortbread, and berry purée. The flavor of the ice cream was outstanding and subtle; the berries elevated it even further.
All of it was fantastic, as was the service. And the wine, Dolcetto d’Alba from the Piemonte region of Italy, was tops.
We followed it with a short stroll under light raindrops, over the Stone Arch bridge, then back to the car. The evening view of the city, including the new 35W bridge and its otherworldly lighting, was charming.