Over State Line in PoCho, Alba’s Classic Northern Italian Specialties Have Staying Power and a Loyal Following

 

Gnocchi Alla Alba - a favorite at Alba's, with cherry tomatoes, radicchio and extra virgin olive oil. Credit: Albas

Gnocchi Alla Alba – a favorite at Alba’s, with cherry tomatoes, radicchio and extra virgin olive oil. Credit: Alba’s

It’s clear that Alba’s is serving a concept, not a trend. The trajectory of its owner has been on the rise from the beginning.

“We are dedicated to serving Italian cuisine – It must be served fresh, simple and prepared with respect,” said Ray Balidemaj, Alba’s owner.

Trendy restaurants have made their way into the fabric of the gastronomic scene lately, but  Alba’s staying power is admirable.

The food is consistently superlative, with attention to every detail, while the interior décor just keeps getting prettier.

Entering Albas - a beautiful mosaic. Credit: Karen Sheer

Entering Albas – a beautiful mosaic. Credit: Karen Sheer

A lovely, tranquil dining room, one of four, with a handsome marble fireplace. Credit: Alba's

A lovely, tranquil dining room, one of four, with a handsome marble fireplace. Credit: Alba’s

Ray’s son Granit has the restaurant business in his blood, and has graduated from The Culinary School of America, Hyde Park, NY. We sat down together over perfectly garlicky baked clams (I asked for them to be chopped), to discuss the business, which opened in 1993.

What’s evident was his appreciation and understanding of his customers. They pride themselves on offering incomparable service, which is attentive, yet not obtrusive.

“You see those crowds at the bar… all regulars, they come every night for dinner,” said Granit. His brother joins him tending to tables on the weekends, while his sister joins his mother as a hostess.

Many delectable antipastos to choose from, prepared daily. Credit: Karen Sheer

Many delectable antipastos to choose from, prepared daily. Credit: Karen Sheer

Prosciutto E Melone - a popilar Primi Piatti (first course) Credit: Alba's

Prosciutto E Melone – a popilar Primi Piatti (first course) Credit: Alba’s

This family has the next generation’s exuberance to guide them into the future to satisfy new patrons with a pleasant dining experience.

In 2010 Alba’s nearly doubled its seating, creating four dining spaces in tasteful muted tones. Persian rugs create a warm environment and marble touches around fireplaces add elegance – all quite contemporary. Outside, the space has redefined its look, which is reminiscent of a traditional Italian villa.

A Neoclassic design -"Alba's is named after the white truffle region of Italy. Credit: Alba's

A Neoclassic design -“Alba’s” is named after the white truffle region of Italy. 

While white tablecloths grace the dining room, and some dishes are still served table-side, this is quite an informal experience… just enough fuss to make it special.
Granit said of his customers, “they trust us to feed them, they are treated like family.” He also made it clear that all they serve is made-in-house.

Relax at Alba's bar, and enjoy a drink, or perhaps order a bottle of wine from their award wining wine list. Credit: Karen Sheer

Relax at Alba’s bar, and enjoy a drink, or perhaps order a bottle of wine from their award-wining wine list. Credit: Karen Sheer

Borsetti di porchini Alle Noci is a half moon pasta, painstakingly stuffed with leaf spinach and portobello mushrooms and finished with a walnut sauce. Another triumph on the menu is Chicken Scarpariello, offered on or off the bone – on the bone takes more time and effort and well with it. Patrons devour their freshly Grilled Branzino, so popular it’s a special every day. It can be de-boned table side, a subtle luxury, as is the Caesar Salad – tossed in a deep wooden bowl.

Desserts are all made in-house, with quite an impressive selection. The coconut mousse pie is a refreshing selection, not ordinarily found in Italian restaurants, and Strawberries Foster is satisfyingly flambéed table side with the addition of vanilla gelato.

The dessert cart offers homemade treats plus gelato and sorbet to end your experience with a sweet note. Credit: Karen Sheer

The dessert cart offers homemade treats plus gelato and sorbet to end your experience with a sweet note. Credit: Karen Sheer

The coconut cream pie is hard to resist. Credit: Karen Sheer

The coconut cream pie is hard to resist. Credit: Karen Sheer

A fig and custard tart, beautifully presented. Credit: Karen Sheer

A fig and custard tart, beautifully presented. Credit: Karen Sheer

This old-school Italian Ristorante has a handsome separate bar and lounge, and an award winning wine list to devour. The chefs are preparing a special Valentine’s Day menu including heart-shaped filled pastas, and a rose given to every “Signora.”

Alba’s is located just over the state line. The space is available for private parties, and although they do not deliver, you can eat like kings and queens in your own home as they will prepare their specialties to-go.

Alba’s is located at 400 North Main Street, Port Chester, NY
Tel (914) 937-2236

Lunch: Mon – Fri 11:30am – 3:00 pm
Dinner: Mon – Sat 5:30pm – 11:00pm


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