Friday, March 28, 2008

Piedmont pleasures at Alba Osteria

A quick hit about another awesome dinner at Alba Osteria, chef/owner Kurt Spak's temple to all things Piedmontese and delicious. We went last Saturday and were once again knocked out by what we ate, and the integrity of Kurt's approach to his craft.

From two perfectly appetizing starters (including my beloved carne cruda...and why doesn't anyone else in town do this? When is some chef besides Kurt going to have a little faith in their customers and give them a little credit? Kurt says they blow through this at Alba), on through the "salad" (right) of greens, walnuts, & pear topped with a duck confit leg which may be the best salad course ever...maybe second only to a crazy "salad course" of lentils cooked in duck fat the we had at l'Ambassade d'Auvergne in Paris...with the confit perfectly cooked, crispy outside, moist inside. The kind of dish you'd dream about but never think you'd actually see. Then of course we had to move on to his spot-on tajarin pasta (left), which simply blows away any other in Portland, the pasta ethereally light with a touch of butter sage sauce.

For entrées, because more must be better, right?, I had his spectacular sweetbreads, again cooked as they should be: crispy outside, moist and tender inside. Kind of like a chicken mcnugget for the non-chickenshit eater. I love this particular gland, and I appreciate those animals who gave theirs so that I might smile. w had the snapper (or was it sole, or...? This came well into our second bottle of wine after cocktails at Teardrop, so I do have an excuse...sort of...). Anyway, it was awesome, the filets (right) lightly breaded and pan fried with a black olive tapenade-like dressing on top, with a buttery smooth mound of mashers and greens on the side. Really nicely done. Then of course two desserts and a couple of glasses of Moscato d'Asti to make sure our physical and mental impairment was complete. Once again Kurt showed our appetites no mercy, throwing down one stellar dish after another. For some reason, every time I walk through the doors at Alba, my ability to say "no" somehow disappears. I know I've said it before: this is as good as it gets...anywhere...for authentic Italian cooking!


Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I really enjoy your blog, and am interested in sending you some info about the 2008 Portland Taste of the Nation event—do you have an email address I could send a few things to?


bb said...

Feel free to send any info to:

And thanks for the kind words!