Lunch at Aldea

After a very full Sunday consisting of a trip to the Amsterdam market, a food walk through Chinatown, 8 full hours of football watching and a Yankees ALCS win I was extremely happy but exhausted. I woke up Monday morning and decided I needed a day off to myself.

I ended up staying in bed until 11:00 am!! I tell you I was exhausted! When I woke up I decided the only thing to do with my day is have a fancy solo lunch. I love solo lunching. It gives me time to unwind while enjoying some fabulous food that is probably too expensive for me to afford at dinnertime. I checked out Opentable and saw a reservation available for Aldea- a new Portuguese restaurant in the neighborhood.

I made a 1:30 reservation and showed up right on time. The place was virtually empty except for a group of four in the back and three men on a business lunch. I think a lot of people were laying low this Monday after such late Giant and Yankee games!

The hostesses were very friendly and lead me through the minimalist but sleek front room to the middle booth. Aldea has a real trendy yet smooth décor which I found to be fancy and inviting at the same time. The cushions on the seat were so plush I could have curled up and taken a nap right there.

However I was onto more important matters- food. Aldea has a very limited, yet tasty looking lunch menu. It consists of about 4 appetizers, 2 sandwiches, 3 entrees and a 3 course prix fix special. The 3 course prix fix looked fantastic and was only $20.09! I had to go for it.

I placed my order and quite soon after I was brought out two different kinds of bread one plain and one cherry walnut wheat. The cherry walnut wheat was kind of interesting- it certainly had a lot of flavor going on but I didn’t really love either one. They came with a side of olive oil which was nice for dipping but I was trying to save myself for the main dishes.

For my appetizer I chose the Market Pear and Arugula salad with smoked ham, mozzarella and candied hazelnuts.

I was pretty shocked how all of the items in the salad blended together so well. I have never been a fan of fruit in my salad but it really worked here. The pear was so juicy and soft with just the right amount of acidity to balance out the bitter arugula. The mozzarella in the dish was incredibly creamy I wouldn’t be surprise if it was made fresh only minutes before. The hazelnuts and smoked ham rounded the salad out nicely with a little smoky sweetness to the dish.

I ate every last bite of this salad and could have eaten another bowl easily.

For my main entrée I chose the Skate “A La Plancha” with zucchini ribbons, pea shoots and a caper-brown butter sauce.

The skate came out of the kitchen smelling absolutely heavenly. It had a nice crusty top from the grill and a perfectly cooked interior that I can never get quite right when I cook fish at home. The brown butter sauce was pleasant but I found the capers a tad overwhelming. A little bit of caper goes a long way in my book, so I pushed some to the side. The portion size of the entrée was pretty big. I only got through about half of the fish before coming incredibly full.

For my big finish dessert I chose the Banana and Passion Fruit Tarte.

I am so angry because my iphone decided to shut itself down for some reason at this point and I never got a picture. This has been happening to me a lot lately and I really need to get it checked out. I also need to start bringing my camera more places as well.

Anyway I’m extra angry because this dessert was phenomenal! The tarte consisted of caramelized bananas on top a passion fruit custard and served with a side of Appleton’s rum and raisin ice cream. OMG it was so good. The full stomach of fish didn’t seem to matter any more as I powered through this tarte in record time. I liked it so much I truly considered licking the plate to make sure I got every last drop. If I was home I totally would have but in restaurant mode I simply smiled and asked for the check.

Overall I thought Aldea was an excellent lunch. The food was bordering on great, the service was slow but attentive and the space was warm and inviting. For $20.09 it is quite the bargain as well!

Aldea Website


Gar said…
I heard about the lunch prix-fixe deal as well, but I heard the fish could be a little over salted.

I also like to solo lunch. Where else do you like to go? :)
Tasty Trekker said…
Hey Gar! My fish definitly had salt but it was just perfect for me. My other favorite lunch spots right now are Eleven Madison and Aquagrill. I'm always looking for new places to try though. Have any favorites yourself?