Alto [Closed]

11 East 53rd Street,

New York, NY 10022

Tel: (212) 308-1099

This was my second great meal at Alto within a span of a few weeks. Executive Chef Michael White may be spending much of his time at the recently-opened Marea, but you would hardly know it by the quality of the food at Alto, which hasn’t slipped one bit. Our lunch was simply marvelous. The seared scallop appetizer and the flat-iron steak were both sublime, but I would have to say the highlight was the house-made tagliatelle topped with white truffles, a dish that adequately prepared me for my upcoming trip to Piedmont. Nothing like a little homework to get the creative juices flowing! All of the food paired beautifully with the wines. As always, Wine Director Eric Zillier did a fabulous job with our bottles. Readers who haven’t yet been to Alto own themselves a visit. The food has never been better, and the ambience is perfect for a cozy dinner in mid-town Manhattan.

Roulot is one of my favorite Burgundy producers. His 2006 Meursault Charmes was awesome. A big, fat wine, it flowed from the glass with compelling citrus, minerals and graphite in a richly-textured, vivid style that is hard to capture with words. Suffice it to say the wine was magnificent and impossible to forget. Leflaive’s 1992 Chevalier-Montrachet coated the palate in a rich, full-throttle style. The finish was dense, oily and honeyed, as everything came together in the glass with magnificent elegance. I wish I could say the same about the 1996 Bâtard-Montrachet from Ramonet, which was dead on arrival.

The 2000 Clos de Vougeot from Méo-Camuzet was pure sex in a glass. Truly seductive and showy, the wine offered up sweet red cherries, spices and flowers with lovely inner perfume. Despite its mid-weight texture, the wine showed that elusive depth and intensity that only Pinot Noir is capable of. This was an aspirational wine of the highest level. Mortet’s 1996 Chambertin was much more straightforward. There was nothing to discover here, everything was very obvious in the wine’s massive fruit and formidable concentration. Though undeniably attractive, the wine didn’t develop at all in the glass, rather it remained monolithic and heavy. Toasted oak, spices and tar lingered on the finish. Although not my cup of tea, the wine still showed plenty of vineyard and vintage pedigree but in an extreme style.

In retrospect, the 1982 Gaja Barbaresco should have been served alongside the white truffles. Instead we enjoyed it towards the end of the meal. Not a problem, though, as the wine was spectacular. Still rich, dense and powerful, the wine offered up classic scents of Nebbiolo that wafted through the air with that elegance that is the hallmark of the finest Piedmontese wines. It was a magical bottle, and was a perfect wine with which round out this delicious lunch.


Seared scallops, grappa-soaked raisins, toasted marcona almonds

Tagliatelle with shaved white truffles

Sliced Creekstone Farms flat iron steak, wild mushrooms, roasted potatoes parsnip puree and red wine jus

Plate of three cheeses



Domaine Roulot Meursault Charmes



Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet



Domaine Ramonet Bâtard-Montrachet



Domaine Méo-Camuzet Clos de Vougeot



Domaine Denis Mortet Chambertin



Gaja Barbaresco


--Antonio Galloni