Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Overrated: Alta

Last week, some co-workers wanted to go out for tapas. The whole concept of tapas is a little foreign to me, as I'm not the best at sharing and I also like there to be a lot of food on my plate. Tapas force you to share, and you really only get 1 bite of the dish before it's gone. Regardless, a friend of mine had recently been to Alta in the West Village and liked it, so I decided to give it a try.

We walked in and I was, at the same time, pleasantly surprised by the warm, inviting atmosphere, and a little turned off by the smell of the place. It smelled like cleaning solution, but I quickly got used to it.

Then the waitress brought over the tapas menus, and my mouth began to water. All the dishes on the menu sounded so delicious. One of the other girls ordered 6 tapas to share between the 5 of us to start, and we each got a glass of sangria. I found the sangria to be too sweet, and not all that tasty. I hoped the food would be better.

We ordered Bacon-Wrapped Dates & Olives, Fried Goat Cheese, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Grilled Shrimp & Chorizo Skewers, Pulled Pork Empanadas, and Black Truffle Gnocchi. I realize these are tapas, but when they came out, the portions were even smaller than I thought they would be. None of the dishes were anything special, and I even found the Gnocchi to be completely tasteless.

Of course we were still hungry after the first round, so we ordered Smoked Eggplant and Lebne Dip, Lamb Meatballs and Catalonian Flatbread. These were only a little better than the first round of tapas, but again, nothing special.

The real surprise came with the bill. This lackluster meal cost $200 without tip. I found this appalling, especially since the food was not good. I do not plan to return to Alta, and I do not recommend it to anyone.

What are your thoughts on tapas? Do you think they make a good meal for a larger group, or are they better for smaller groups? I'd be willing to try another tapas restaurant, but I would probably only go with 1 other person so I could get more than just 1 bite of each dish.

Let's Eat!
-The Fabulous Foodie

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