A friend of mine got a great deal for Alouette – $30 for $60 worth of food and drink. A steal. And they even allowed us to get the Yelp check-in special, which is a free glass of house wine for each of us.
I’d heard nothing but wonderful things about Alouette. There’s cafe-style outdoor seating along the front sidewalk, which borders the open front of the restaurant (sadly my tardy arrival meant we lost the final outdoor table). In addition to the main floor, there’s also upstairs seating – much quieter and a more private setting better suited to a romantic evening out. If you’re headed there on a date (with someone you truly want to be with, that is) I’d suggest requesting to be seated upstairs.
We were there on a Wednesday, which is their paella night. It’s a prix fixe option, so our special wouldn’t cover it. The best part though was the associated music – a subtle flamenco guitarist situated in the front corner by the bar. Perfect. They also have a regular 3-course prix fixe daily option (we also couldn’t do this with the special – but it is not a bad deal) for only $25. To start, you have your choice of three vegetable terrine with red wine and balsamic reduction, a homemade country pate with pickled vegetables and cornichons, or mixed baby greens and roasted red beets with pumpkin seed vinaigrette. For your main course, there’s skatefish with roasted mushrooms and brussels sprout in a burgundy emulsion, chicken breast with swiss Cheese, ratatouille and white wine sauce, hanger steak with roasted potato Cubes, shallots and red wine sauce, or Green Market vegetable plate with fettuccini in a garlic infused olive oil. And to finish, your choice between crème Ccramel with a madeleine cookie or sliced poached pear in white wine with chocolate sauce. Not bad indeed.
We skipped appetizers and went straight for main courses. I’d decided coming in that I wanted the Pan Seared Salmon, served with couscous, grilled asparagus and a red beet vinaigrette. It was such a gorgeous dish when it came out. Almost Christmaslike with the reds and greens.
My friend ordered the diver sea scallops, which were pan seared with spinach, purple potato and saffron sauce. In keeping with the aesthetic appeal of my dish, hers was likewise gorgeous.
We were unable to pass on dessert (What were we going to do? After all, we had to reach our $60!). We finally decided on the chocolate mousse, which had dark chocolate shavings and berry coulis. We were pleasantly surprised when it came out to find it was so light and fluffy. The chocolate was mixed throughout with the berries, so it never became overpoweringly rich. I’m used to the berries being more of a finishing touch, but far preferred this. The white chocolate shavings were a nice finish on top.
Everything was as I’d expected it would be (save the cranky older woman sitting to my left). Highly recommend this spot if you’re looking for a restaurant in the Upper West Side.
Alouette – 2588 Broadway (b/w 97 & 98 Streets) – 212.222.6808