Late last week my wife and I met another couple for dinner at the newly opened Alfio’s Buon Cibo in Hyde Park Square. Alfio’s opened about a month ago in the former Poco a Poco spot (which I enjoyed during its short lifespan). Chef Alfio Gulisano was born to Italian parents but grew up in Argentina. So the menu is a mix of both cuisines, with most of it focusing on recipes from his family’s Italian heritage.
I made a reservation for 6:45 and arrived to find the restaurant with just a few tables occupied. The bar area is just past the hostess stand and had a number of guests already there enjoying glasses of wine. As we waited for one of our friends to arrive, the restaurant became increasingly crowded and a couple of larger parties also made their way inside.
Our server for the evening offered suggestions not only for dinner but also was very knowledgeable about the wine list and even suggested an Argentinean beer, Quilmes, a lager with a little more flavor than most of our own domestically produced options. He was quick to provide refills throughout the night. The other employees that we did see throughout the night were all helpful and provided excellent service.
My wife started with the spinach and apple salad with spicy honey candied pecans, goat cheese, red onion, and dried cherries in a quince pomegranate vinaigrette ($9). I didn’t order a starter of my own, but was happy to share a few bites of her salad. It was an excellent blend of flavors and I loved it. Sorry for the dim picture above, I didn’t realize until later that I needed to use my flash. One of our friends tried the butternut squash mascarpone soup and said it was very tasty as well (cup $4 and bowl $7).
For dinner I decided on the chicken saltimbocca, which combined pan seared chicken breasts with prosciutto, roasted red peppers and sage then cooked in white wine and butter sauce and served over fettuccini ($18). The presentation was a bit strange with the large roasted red pepper dwarfing the rest of the dish, but the portion size was excellent with two full chicken breasts. The sauce was a delicious butter and wine based sauce and the flavor combination was really good.
I also considered ordering the chicken caprese – sautéed chicken breasts topped with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil in a white wine shitake mushroom sauce served over spaghetti ($19). One of our friends ordered this dish and it was much prettier in presentation. I didn’t sample any it, but I think I would consider giving that a try next time, as she seemed to really enjoy it.
My wife ordered one of two specials for the night, eggplant parmigiana ($14). They also offer Lobster ($25), Portabella ($16), and Chicken ($18). This dish again was a large serving with three large slices of eggplant that were breaded and fried and then smothered with marinara and mozzarella. I’m not usually one to enjoy eggplant parmigiana, but I stole a few bites anyway and I though this was again very good. I would even rank it above most of the chicken parmigiana I have had in the last few years.
The fourth plate at our table was braised veal short ribs in porcini and shitake truffle mushroom broth served over creamy polenta and asparagus ($22). Again I did not sample any of the dish, but our friend commented that it was good. He added that they weren’t the best short ribs he’s ever had, but that they were tender and tasty.
Overall we had a great dining experience at Alfio’s and I’m sure we will be back for more food in the hopefully near future.