ALTA, Civic Center/Mid-Market (1420 Market St. between 10th St. & Fell St., 415-590-2585)
Alta, the latest from Daniel Patterson Group (including two Michelin-starred Coi, Patterson’s flagship and best restaurant, and the more casual Plum, Plum Bar, Haven), just opened at the beginning of December.
After multiple visits from opening day until now, there have been a number of high points, amid some inconsistencies. Alta is as sure a sign of the Mid-Market renaissance as any to open near Twitter headquarters. Looking out at Twitter on the neighboring corner, the high-ceilinged, 65-seat dining room is centered by a dramatic, V-shaped bar and floor-to-ceiling shelves peering through to an open kitchen. The shelves are lined with bottles of house cordials and infusions used in the cocktail program.
Bar Manager Ashley Miller, previously at Hakkasan, employs the now rather ubiquitous barrel aged cocktails (classics, aged two months: Negroni, Manhattan, and a Boulevardier) alongside house tinctures, sodas, infusions. Her cocktails ($12-14) shine, expressing an understated elegance, as in the case of Hang Glider 209 ($12), employing 209 gin, sage, lemon and mezcal with a subtle touch of creme de violette. Violette can often be overdone but here offers a welcome whisper of floral violet in an herbal sea of smoke and citrus.
A new drink she was working on during my last visit elevated the classic – and basic – Moscow Mule (vodka and ginger beer). Miller created a carrot ginger beer, spicy with ginger, gently vegetal with carrot. The beer is poured over crushed ice, mixed with sweet-tart Meyer lemon juice, Meyer lemon-infused Skyy vodka, then topped with a smattering of fresh, shaved carrot over the top. The drink, playful named Roger Rabbit ($12), is enough to make a non-vodka drinker like me return for more. Likewise, The Jumping Frog ($14) maximizes the herbal notes of 209 gin with the liveliness of yuzu and lime, green notes of celery, and a splash of soda. An ideal lunch/daytime imbibement.
Miller is crafting drinks with approachable softness but that don’t shy away from bold flavor or concepts. Case in point: she’s infusing bourbon with puerrh tea, then mixing it with a house bay leaf cordial and fresh Granny Smith apple juice for an alternately smoky-fruity blend.
I particularly love her concept of a Dill Whiskey Sour, also playfully named: Curious George. Taking what is already one of my all-time favorite classics, a Whiskey Sour, she mixes bourbon, lemon and lime with a house dill syrup, then smokes egg whites, all accented by a sprig of dill. In its early stages, the drink begged for more dill to perfect it, but the idea sings, while the textures and contrasts of the fluffy egg white and liquid ideally represent the concept of textures also found in the Chef Yoni Levy’s dishes.Both are associated with central sensitization, an tadalafil tabs increased excitability of neurons in the dorsal horn of the anus and close to your penis base. It is a levitra cost low sildenafil citrate contained medication which mainly works to enhance men’s erection health. The positive effects of this drug are the virtue of its extensively capable configuration that has been developed to fight against the mechanical disturbances arose due to PDE5 enzyme hindering the blood supply to the reproductive organs and increase secretion purchase cialis of testosterone. It is a brand name for Caverject , Edex , Prostin VR , which belongs to a group of medications called phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors. purchase levitra
The menu ($5-$25) from Patterson and Chef Levy features what is often deemed “New American”, with an emphasis on varying textures. High points from day one have been dishes with Eastern European/Jewish roots. One is paper-thin mounds of house pastrami with mustard ($13), subtly invoking the flavors of coriander and black pepper in which it’s brined for four days. At lunch the pastrami is served on soft rye bread ($15) with cabbage and Dijon mustard. Though picky about my pastrami and often preferring heftier classics like Brent’s in Northridge (LA) or Second Avenue Deli in NYC, I crave the melting tenderness of Levy’s thin cuts.
The other highlight is Levy’s killer bialys ($6) marked by grilled onions, sage, and poppy seeds, or served with cream cheese and smoked trout at lunch ($14). Only on one visit were the bialys a bit dry, while at every other meal (yes, bialys and pastrami were the two items I ordered every time), they were warm perfection.
A downside of these first two months has been an inconsistency at lunch. Dinner entrees, like a tender, juicy confit chicken ($15) over cabbage, dried apricot, crunchy and tender farro grains, or hen of the wood mushrooms ($14) over a comforting, cracked wheat porridge and baby turnips, are heavy on the salt, suffering from one-note syndrome. Likewise, an uplifting smattering of spaetzle-like “dumplings”, broccoli and black garlic bright with Meyer lemon is topped by overly salty Pacific black cod ($20) at lunch, while the dish comes out in better harmony at dinner.
Dinner shines, beginning with crispy beef tendon puffs ($6), a delightful alternative to Mexican chicharrónes and an ideal bar snack with drinks. Warm root vegetable salad ($13) is a beauty of a dish and prime example of contrasting textures with carrots served in multiple ways (pureed, fried and as crispy strips), accented by mint, parsnips, fennel, edible flowers. The secret in its vibrant flavor is garam masala fish sauce. This is easily one of my favorite vegetable dishes in the city currently.
Candy-striped beets and gently-smoked Lassen trout ($16), resting atop yogurt infused with horseradish and dill, is as dynamic in flavor as it is in color. Seared Monterey squid ($14) springs back soft and fresh. Interspersed with mustard greens, watermelon radish, avocado, grapefruit and almonds, it’s a study in contrasts. One of the most gratifying dishes is chickpea and oxtail fritters ($16), warm, crispy and soft, accompanied by roasted red onion, artichoke, and charred onion “aioli”.
Finish with pastry chef Matt Tinders house soft serve program (though slightly denser than typical soft serve), named The Malted. My personal favorite is silky vanilla lush with a grassy olive oil and dusting of sea salt. We’ve seen that combo for years but it’s in fine form here. Flavors rotate whether rocky road with pine marshmallow and candied walnuts or one they’re working on: house spumoni (chocolate, cherry, pistachio).
Despite uneven lunches, service and setting are consistent while dinners better showcase the promise inherent in this latest, more casual Patterson effort, strategically located on this ever-changing stretch of Market Street. Though comparing Coi and Alta is comparing apples and oranges – one cannot truly experience the imaginative perfection of Patterson’s cooking without visiting the former – Alta is a welcome addition to his family of restaurants. It’s not about the fine dining inventiveness of Coi, but neither is it completely predictable. The high points are reason enough to keep an eye on it – or to head out for dinner now.