Our dinners at Alma last spring, summer and fall were among the highlights of our dining out in all of 2022. If we hadn’t been gone in the winter, we would have eaten there again. No surprise then that we showed up again to eat their current spring menu. Of course, in between the dinner last fall and this one came their invitation to me to do an Indian pop-up with them—which went off quite successfully (I’d like to think) at the end of February. I note/remind you of this at the very outset to foreground the fact that whereas until the end of last year I was just a very big fan of their cooking philosophy, I am now a little more entangled with them and my critical detachment is doubtless at least a little strained. There was no special treatment at this dinner, no comps of any kind—but if you choose to view my enthusiasm for this meal as contaminated, I will understand. For yes, we very much enjoyed this dinner as well and I don’t really have any criticisms in what follows. Except maybe that the root vegetable pavé, the picture of which on Instagram spurred me to make this reservation, was no longer on the menu. Them’s the breaks.
We had a reservation at 7 pm on a Saturday in early April and arrived while there was still light flowing in through the large windows in the front of the dining room. Those 2-tops by the windows there are among our favourite places to eat in the Twin Cities when there is natural light to be had and it’s just the two of us out for dinner. The fact that it got darker as the meal went on did not dim our enthusiasm for the food.
We were there just a week after the spring menu was inaugurated, I think. It is still largely unchanged—though there are a couple of ingredient substitutions in the menu currently on their website (noted below). As always, spiced almonds and marinated olives arrived as we sat down, and we dispatched them rather quickly while pondering the cocktail list. The missus got the blackberry mojito—which she said was as tasty as it was pretty—and I very much enjoyed their take on the sidecar.
And so, on to the food. If you’ve eaten there in recent years you know that there are no choices to be made. You are given the menu to peruse but then you get everything on it. (You can work out restrictions etc. at the time of making the reservation; and you can also select a vegetarian menu at that time.)
Service was pleasant as usual. Meals at Alma can stretch out sometimes between courses, so if you’re expecting everything to come out rapid fire, you’ll have to calibrate a bit. Who knows—maybe talk to your fellow diner(s)?
Cost? The prix fixe is still $95/head for everything that is on the menu. To this you add drinks, tax and an automatic 21% wellness charge (in lieu of gratuity, unless you want to add more on). Our total with the two cocktails and the glass of wine was $316 or $158/head. Certainly not a cheap night out but, as I always say, if you can swing it, it’s very good “value” for what you get—and certainly on par with its peers in the local scene. Though, as I say “peers”, I think that in this price range I’d only list Spoon & Stable as a true peer and we always enjoy our dinners at Alma more. We certainly enjoyed this meal a lot—even though it probably incorporated the fewest non-European/American touches of our recent meals there. I’m sure the next menu iteration will be great as well, but if you’re looking for a splurge destination right now, I’d recommend this menu highly.
Alright, what’s next on the restaurant report front? I’m off to New York soon for a couple of days on work-related matters but will likely post a couple of reports from Seoul and Goa this week. Next week’s Twin Cities report will probably be of a recent Indian meal. On the whisky front, the reviews of recent sherry cask Glenallachies will continue.
You might recall my (major) issue with their spirits program, which remains. Only a limited number of locally sourced spirits are available.
Now, the daytime Cafe is awesome. I’ve been back for their cookies and croissants a few times, which are fairly priced and delicious. I keep wanting to sit down and have breakfast or lunch there, which I am confident would be quite good. Soon.
I do recall it now that you mention it. I’ve not paid close attention to what goes into their cocktails; but I do enjoy their cocktails a lot anyway and so it doesn’t bother me.
Some friends of mine and I ate at Alma for breakfast not long ago. Very enjoyable food though the actual dining experience itself was meh, caused partly by the staff’s assumption that we knew how everything worked (as first-timers, we did not) and partly by their workflow, which could be more diner-friendly. Now that we know how it works, though, we’d go back. But so many other restaurants to try for breakfast!