At Alma the waitstaff and chefs in the open kitchen look barely older than the restaurant, which turned 20 in 2019. With their man buns, blond dreadlocks, tatoos, nose rings, and unbridled foodie enthusiasm, they bring a youthful brio to an establishment that, in the hothouse world of fine dining, would normally be past its prime by this time. Not Alma! In its anniversary year it was a semi-finalist for the coveted James Beard Award for "Best Restaurant in the United States", and continues to present food that wows.
Diners have the choice of going left on entry, to the more casual cafe (which has a la carte choices and is open all day) or right for a tasting menu meal. Unless you're on a diet, go right. There, in a high ceilinged, high windowed, industrial-chic room you'll be taken on a culinary adventure. Diners have the choice of four to five dishes for each of three courses, one of which is not (surprisingly) dessert. So the meal might start with a sprightly salad of roasted celery root and apples, cocooned in creme fraiche; or a savory flan with garlic and prawns. Next course is usually pasta or another type of starch-based option (if its on the menu, the pasta fagioli with speck and balsamic vinegar is as comforting as a genuine hug, but with an unexpected mini-kick of chili). And the final course of proteins ranges might range from a Brazilian lobster and hake stew, to duck cooked two ways, each of them exquisite.
Most diners splash out on one of the desserts, or on the surprisingly affordable wine pairing (at just $32 for four pours, as one comes with the amuse bouche). Interestingly, there's also a 7-room hotel on site, if all this eating knocks you out flat!