A recent trip to the beloved Al Di La left me a little dissapointed, though i think this is one of the best Italian spots in town. I ate with 8 other people and tasted most of the menu. The dishes are very rich in keeping with the tradition of Northern Italian food which lies closer in influence to France and Germany than to the Mediterranean. I think another restaurant from this obviously talented chef serving upscale Sicilian or southern style food (grilled sardines, tomato sauces, and so on) could be a huge hit if executed properly. Out of the nine diners nobody was wowed in particular by the meal, though the wine, an amarone, was excellent.
Another trip to the bar side of Al Di La, Bacaro, was a good experience and quite unique from the al di la experience. Apart from a ridiculous, loud, pugelent dousche-bag who felt it necessary to yell like he was at the king street grill, the meal was beautifully paced by a skilled, attentive server and really affordable. We ordered 6 appetizers and wine for under $50. The bresaolo (air dried beef) was like a delicious, glorified pastrami. The cured ham with melon was legit, and most interesting was the pizza with confit duck, braised grapes and ubriago cheese. I’m not even sure if I liked this pizza but it was so unique that I let it pass. The marsala mussels were also very good, smaller delicious morsels without any of the funk that you sometimes find it huge, mature mussels. My only complaint would be the overall saltiness of everything, especially the bread. These meals always leave me parched. I wish they would serve a little sorbet or something fresh to cut through the salt. Oh well.
Later in the meal, the offending aformentioned dousche face set his wine glass down on our table (while we were eating) to pay his bill. I don’t want to fight in a nice restaurant, but this was like having a new pair of nike’s stepped on. I didn’t fight, of course, because I don’t think that one can beat the meatiness out of another. Also, I would hate to end a nice meal locked up on leeds ave.
Prices: Pasta around $10, entree $17, wine $25-50.