Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 2/20/23
The newest edition to Chef Pat Pascarella’s collection of sensational restaurants, Alici, whisks you away to the Amalfi Italian coast with pastel blue and yellow ornate floor tile, sprawling oyster bar, and stone worked wall. It all gives off a coastal, beachside vibe. This pairs well with the vibrant seafood dishes and sensational breezy cocktails that fills out the Alici menu. Everything from fresh raw crudos or sensational succos to easy drinking cocktails to crisp salads to mix and match fish and sauces and even a whole menu of fresh oysters. It’s just like spending a dinner on Italy’s coast. Let’s talk more about the menu.
Sipping our way around the cocktail menu, we found that we’re in love with it! One of the GM, Ashley’s favorite is a beautiful and bright The Spiteful Monk. It’s citrusy, bubbly, and a great balance of tart and tangy, not too sweet. It’s drinkable, breezy, and reminds you of a sunny beach day. But whatever you do, make sure to try the Midtown Daquiri, one of the best daiquiris we’ve ever had! It started sweet yet smooth, rich, creamy, then the booze hits you on the back! It is balanced out by the tiki bitters and a good sweetness. BLOWN AWAY.
To start, we opted for three very different seafood inspired dishes: the Polpo Socco, Grilled Baby Gem, and Tuna ‘Ndjua. the Polpo Socco is unforgettable with tender, charred, and smoky octopus, creamy, herbaceous caper-tarragon, earthy olives, and tangy red onions all on top of a savory, grilled pancake! On the flip side, the raw minced, savory Tuna ‘Ndjua, is a light, fresh fish dish! This is paired with delightful citrusy blood orange and an earthy, salted salad that adds extra flavor to the bite. Finally, we’re all in with warm, grilled salads right now and the Grilled Baby Gem didn’t disappoint. This is charred baby gem lettuce that’s smoky and earthy then topped with amazing, salty whole anchovies! Then, adding in bright lemon, a huge amount of cheese, and surrounded with a lemon aioli that add in a tang for a great bite.
For our main dishes, we had to at least try one of the house-made pasta dishes, so we got the Occhi with smoked fish. They also have a pick your fish and pick your sauce mix and match, so since we’d never had tilefish, we went for this fish with their bright salsa verde. The pasta was perfectly cooked ravioli style pasta stuffed with smoky fish and a mild cheese. Outside it is tender with a slight spice of jalapeno that juxtaposes with mild fish and pasta, bright crispy onions, and earthy olives. It’s doused in lemon sauce that’s rich with citrus notes, this goes well with the other flavors.
Now, on to our favorite dish of the meal, the tilefish! Hefty, mild, salty, crunchy skinned tilefish dressed up with a bright, earthy, herbaceous salsa verde that combines the richness of the fish with the tang of the herbs. We cannot get over the oil and herb sauce! Divine. To go with the fish, we tried their brand new cauliflower side. This is a good mix of tender yet crunchy that are both toasty and citrusy.
We need to go back to try more pastas, fish, and sauces!