Alba’s Still Impresses
Alba’s Ristorante & Pizzeria
137-65 Queens Blvd., Briarwood
Hours: Sun-Thus 11 am-11 pm; Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight
Credit Cards: All Major
Walk in the front door of Alba’s Ristorante & Pizzeria and the view is misleading. An unsuspecting customer will see nothing more than the small, cramped tables and long dinner line that can be found at any pizzeria in the City. Don’t give up yet. A walk towards the back of the restaurant is worth the effort.
On a recent Tuesday we ventured out for a late dinner and were quickly seated by the knowledgeable and friendly wait staff. The open and airy room is filled with well-spaced tables, topped by the usual white tablecloths. Hanging on the cream colored walls are large mirrors and Italian themed paintings. The room is filled with the pleasant din of couples and families enjoying a meal.
After listening to the waiter’s recommendations, we ordered a variety of starters and specials, starting with the mescalina and house salads, pasta fagioli and calamari. The Pasta fagioli was both beautiful and fragrant, with a plentiful serving of pasta and cannellini beans. It was a feast for the eye and the stomach.
The mescalina salad was a mixture of chopped greens with olives, thick cut tomato and onion. The ingredients were fresh and the house Italian dressing had a light taste without the usual bite. The house salad was a mix of chopped iceberg with the same combination of olives, tomatoes, onions and dressing.
The calamari was sized for sharing. An attractive platter of rings and whole pieces, with a silver bowl brimming with marinara sauce as its centerpiece, the calamari was crispy and lightly fried. A garnish of thinly-sliced cucumbers topped off the plate. Although I am not generally a fan of marinara, the smooth flavor offset the well-seasoned calamari wonderfully.
For our entrees, we chose the Linguini Mediterani, Chicken Fontina and Veal Portobello. The Linguini Mediterani was served in a lobster sauce with clams out of the shell, salmon, scallops and shrimp. The lobster sauce was truly delightful and the seafood portions generous. It was an excellent choice for the seafood aficionado.
The Chicken Fontina was layered with mixed vegetables and potato wedges, chicken breast topped by prosciutto di Parma and spinach fontina, in a white wine sauce. The seasoned potato wedges are tasty all on their own. With the chicken and spinach, they added a wonderful burst of flavor.
The Veal Portobello was served with steamed broccoli surrounded by potato wedges, and topped by veal and Portobello mushrooms. The veal was tender and tasty. A mushroom lover’s delights, the Portobellos were sautéed in brandy and port wine, imparting an earthy flavor that did not overpower the dish.
Stuffed from dinner, with much regret we opted out of dessert. Next time, we will leave room for the Chocolate Mousse and Cannoli.
Prices range from a low of $6.50 for an appetizer to a high of $23 for the NY Shell Steak. Our verdict: well worth the price. If you are thinking about taking the family to Applebee’s or some other chain, make a trip over to Alba’s instead.