Amalia, April 26, 2007


My first impression of Amalia, located in the Dream Hotel, was that it would be all style and no substance. It certainly does have quite a bit of style, though that shouldn't surprise anyone when looking at its pedigree (same owners of Aspen and Groovejet and designed by the same group, SLDesign, who brought us Butter and Aspen).

My second impression was that my wife would love this. The space features a handful of separate rooms/areas in a mix of brick, glass, mirrors and currently trendy wallpaper treatments much like you'd find from Walnut Wallpaper (Cole & Son, Osbourne & Little, etc.) and Twenty2.

The service is awkward at best. The hostess looked like she just woke up and the waiter was over-polite/too polite - which I guess I can't complain about but made me feel awkward.

My first impression came to fruition when I received my Golden Beets and Blood Orange salad which was served with avocado, crunchy chickpeas and pomegranate vinaigrette. The plating was reminiscent of the tuna appetizer currently being served at Eleven Madison Park, but because it was on a square plate, not a long, narrow oval-like plate at EMP, it didn't work. There was too much negative space and it looked amateurish. Sadly, the ingredients failed to impress as well.

My entree, a ground lamb sandwich, essentially a sloppy joe, was actually quite tasty. Not worth a second try, but a nice option for lunch. It doesn't come close to the lamb nanini at Tabla (which has been worth three tries all of which were very good), but decent and passable.

I skipped dessert because the sandwich was enough to fill me up but also because none of it really intrigued me.

A recent check on Open Table showed that it was currently offline. Is this a harbinger of things to come? Hard to say, but I hope not. I'd like to give it another shot for lunch and a shot at dinner too with the wife.

Yes, its style might prove to be greater than its substance, but another shot is a fair approach. A good place to consider a starting point for a night on the town -- where getting in the mood to go out is the focus instead of strictly a dining experience.


Anonymous Emme said...

I'm concerned about this restaurant because the chef is the same as Rosa Mexicana, which is a dreadful place. Sure it's amusing and the decor is enjoyable, but I've been there twice and both times the service was dreadful and worse, the food made us ill. Not so fun to enjoy a production at Lincoln with a rumbling stomach, etal.

5:33 PM  

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