In my humble opinion the best pasta in NYC is served at Alto. Now, this is a brave statement to make, and of course, it is all subjective. I have had fabulous pastas at some other joints too, such as Marea, another of Chef Michael White's outstanding restaurants. He could just very well be the best chef in America for Italian fare. (I have yet to try every Italian restaurant in America.)
I had been to Alto before, and was blown away with all the dishes, especially the pastas. I had never in my life had such flavorful and wonderful pasta before. Well, last week, after Entertaining with magic, mind-reading, and comedy for two hours, my body craved some magical pastas. Alas, I knew it was Alto I needed to disappear to.
Alto is 3-star dining at it's best. It is definitely an upscale restaurant, perfect for a business dinner, or if you really want to impress a date. There is a waiter circulating the floor with a tray of really good breads, from focaccia to olive rolls, it's all good. I sat at the small bar and the dishes that did appear before me were all absolutely fabulous!
An amuse of potato soup with a fried oyster set the tone for the meal about to arrive before me.
An appetizer of crisp sweetbread with apple gremolata, celery root, and veal cream was excellent. The flavor combination of apple, celery, and veal, was ingenious and great!
A wild mushroom soup with ricotta was orgasmic. Yes, I use that word often to describe many dishes I consume in NYC, but what can I tell ya, I'm easy. This perfectly balanced soup, not too light, not too heavy, with mushroom flavor permeating throughout, was outstanding!
Agnolotti filled with duck were incredible. I was in pasta heaven. Dreams do come true.
A tortellini-type pasta filled with braised pheasant was also extraordinary. The flavor so wonderful and exquisite, yet homey, it was as if your grandma made this dish-if your grandma was a four-star, amazing chef.
A finale of Torrone, Piemontese nougat semifreddo, hazelnut cake, and warm chocolate sauce, and Bomboloni filled with apple cinnamon, and a side of caramel sauce, were fantastic endings, to a magical meal. I was stuffed, but those Bomboloni were totally addictive!
So for one of the most Magical pasta focused meals in NYC, Alto is the place to go. Making the food here disappear, will be one of the most satisfying tricks you'll ever accomplish.
11 East 53rd St. (bet. 5th and Madison)
New York, NY 10022