Tapas has become one of my favorite ways to enjoy a meal. Aside from an expensive tasting menu, there are few other ways to try several dishes in one sitting. Although most of my experience is with traditional Spanish tapas (a few NYC joints I would recommend: Mercat- Noho, Las Ramblas- West Village) Harrison Mosher’s Alta is something entirely different.
Before I get into the food, let me first say that this is one of the most interesting and intimate restaurant spaces I have ever been in. A great date spot for sure. Set slightly below West 10th St. near the corner of 6th Ave, it appears to be a village townhouse doubling as a restaurant. Walking in you’ll find a long narrow corridor that acts as a bar space where they serve wine and cocktails off of a seemingly infinite list. As you enter the dining area, there are a few tables in a front room (call it the foyer) and as you ascend two small steps you notice a large backroom with a massive medieval looking chandelier hovering over it. Two more flights of stairs bring you up to an open kitchen area, and around the corner is a terrace situated around the chandelier, spanning the perimeter of the main dining room downstairs. My girlfriend and I were seated there; a great setting for a delicious meal.
After our journey through the place was over and we sat down, we finally felt like we were at a restaurant. Then, our first glance of the food menu made us wonder what type of restaurant we were at. Spanish? Mediterranean? Italian? French? It was all of the above. The “menu of little plates” had representatives from various cuisines- making the Tapas experience even more varied and interesting.
We started with red Sangria which claims to have top secret ingredients. Although it was tasty, it was not my type- I like more of a red wine taste with large chunks of fruit and this seemed to be more like a mixed cocktail.
Then, in this order, we had:
- Pulled Pork Empanadas with a sweet & spicey cilantro dipping sauce: nothing special
- Agave Glazed Chicken Wings with a chile spice blend, frisee & celery with Valdeon dressing: absolutely amazing, I think I pissed my girlfriend off because I ate more than her
- P.E.I. Mussels with harissa lobster broth, preserved lemon, cilantro: incredible mussels served in a giant pot- after you clear em’ all out, there is an spicy tomato based broth at the bottom. Using your bread as a sponge, you get as much of that as you can.
- Grilled Shrimp & Chorizo Skewer with avocado cream, warm garlic & sherry vinaigrette: delicious and inventive, we loved this one
- Lamb Meatballs with a spiced red pepper sauce, egg yolk: this was my favorite small plate of the night
Overall, this was a great place and one worth visiting. Although I was not too impressed with the Sangria, and the dishes were a bit pricey for the portion size (average about 12-13 bucks per dish), the menu is incredibly creative and varied, making for a great dining experience. Great service and a unique atmosphere makes this a great spot for a date or a casual night out with friends. I look forward to going back.