Sunday, July 8, 2007

Alici's Bistro

(Turkish pronunciation, by the way, is "ah-LEE-jee.")

Run by Musa Alici, "the mad Turk," this bistro and bar has been open two weeks. The design of the dining room, bar, both decks, even the outfits of the staff are harmonious, tasteful, and thoughtfully conceived. Cutlery and crockery are solid in the hand, on the large side, and interesting to look at. Highlights and criticisms below.

While one does not go (often) to a restaurant solely for its design -- I wish more restaurant owners understood the relationship between decor and dish -- these guys get it.

Bread and accompaniments to begin
Rosemary focaccio (properly made with potato) and baguette slices are fresh and warm. From left, lightly-garlicked hummus with black pepper, excellent fruity and fragrant olive oil with grated parmesan cheese, and tabouli with sun-dried tomato and cumin-spiced raisins.

Beef Carpaccio starter
Served with excellent olive oil, ground black pepper, shaved Parmesan cheese accompanied by lightly dressed and spicy arugula

Goat Cheese Custard starter
Lightly seasoned with herbs and baked slowly, the texture is reminiscent of cheesecake. Soft, pungent, pleasantly thick in the mouth, the flavors honor the goat. Accompanied by lightly-dressed arugula, diced tomato, lightly pickled onion and well-spiced, toasted pita wedges.

Duck Confit starter
With beans, peas, and corn and sauced with a balsamic reduction.
Both meat and skin are tender and fall off the bone. Beans are perfectly cooked, but under seasoned. The reduction was sweet and deeply flavored and very prettily presented. The rather bland vegetables wanted more sauce.

"Handmade" Pasta Special
With basil, mozzarella, tomato.

Pork Roulade Special
With a tamarind sauce, accompanied by green beans and potato dauphine. Exquisite presentation. Very large and meaty pork stuffed with gently seasoned spinach, apricots, raisins, and bleu cheese, the whole roasted to a crisp exterior.

Best restaurant men's room in Brattleboro
Innovative, full-flavored food
Fun and beautiful -- food, setting, design
Sauces -- tamarind, balsamic reduction
Good choices with olive oil
Wisely dressed arugula
Very large wine cellar

Food is slow to come to the table
Attention of servers is slow (taking orders, checking dinner, bringing bill)
Dry pork
Oddly flavored tabouli
Chewy, sticky pasta with clumps of partially melted cheese, the whole lacking cohesion and flavor

Dinners with John Calvi and Suzanne Kingsbury (separately)

$35 - 48 per person with wine

Alici's Bistro
51 Harris Place
Brattleboro, Vermont 05301
Tel: 802-254-5600


Anonymous said...

I have been in Alici's five times and I love my experience. Restaurant opened just 6 weeks as we speak. This review done within coule of weeks of opening of a new restaurant, I think it is great. Service is now much better, food is not slow anymore. I love music scene in the Martini Bar and I can get meal until midnight which is great. I thank you Chef/Owner Musa Alici for coming to Brattleboro.
PS: I do not think Mike LaCroix not have any connection with the restaurant.

Marshall said...

Quite correct. Both Mr LaCroix and Mr Alici were at the Brattleboro Select Board meeting in January to discuss the bistro. I misunderstood. Mr Alici alone holds board approval.

Don't you love the bar's burger with spinach and bleu cheese?