2017-01-18 / Restaurant of the Week

Alberto

Alberto is one of Queens’ treasures, nestled in the borough for 43 years, and owned by brother and sister Roberto and Silvana Chiappelloni. This opulent restaurant has been restored from an old knitting mill to reveal beautiful wood beam ceilings, aged brick walls, and is decorated with antiques curated by Silvana and Roberto during many car rides. Silvana lovingly describes where every piece came from, including the handsome bar, the gorgeous stained glass, and the real church pews that serve as seating in a cozy niche just next to the stately fireplace that creates the warmest environment around. Needless to say, Alberto is an ideal spot for a romantic Valentine’s dinner, or any dinner for that matter.

The secret to Alberto’s success is in their homemade pasta, and classic Northern Italian dishes made with the freshest ingredients. The loyal customers come for their favorite dishes, such as their signature stuffed artichoke, Emilio salad, or their tortelli Alberto. Nearly everything at Alberto is made from scratch and you can taste the love in every bite. The service is excellent, delivered by charming waiters with an old-world touch, and you’ll feel very special and pampered at Alberto.

Alberto offers very fine wines by the glass, with an impressive list. The skilled barman mixes up your favorite cocktail or will pour a nice beer for you while you enjoy Alberto’s bruschetta made on crusty Italian bread. Our attentive waiter, Abel, recited the evening’s specials which included mussels steamed in marinara sauce or white wine and garlic, pork Ossobuco with gremolata and creamy risotto, and the very tempting New Zealand rack of lamb with a panko and Dijon crust. My lovely companion and I shared the very popular Alberto combination appetizer for two, which provides a sampling of crispy baked clams, tender shrimp, asparagus sautéed with butter and parmigiana, and a trio of mushrooms whose juices were swiftly scooped up by the crusty bread. Smoked salmon comes with sliced avocado, capers, olives, garlic and a drizzle of fine olive oil ($13.75). In keeping with the classic service, our salad plates were chilled and filled with the crunchy Emilio salad, composed of chopped arugula, radicchio, fennel, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, and mozzarella lightly dressed and flavorful. Alberto’s one-page menu features their homemade pastas, chicken, meat, and fish, all prepared on the spot and beautifully presented on sparkling white dishes. We simply had to try Alberto’s signature tortelli, tender pillows of pasta filled with ricotta, Parmigiano cheese, Pecorino Romano, and chopped kale dressed in a light, creamy sauce. This dish is as good as it sounds, and its recipe comes from Piacenza, Silvana’s home town in the north of Italy, just south of Milan. The pappardelle pasta is tossed with tomato sauce, prosciutto, and peas ($21), while capelli are thin spaghetti with shrimp and marinara sauce. Alberto’s lasagna is legendary, made with homemade pasta sheets to build the delicious layers of meat, sauce, and cheeses.

The fish is excellent here, with kudos for the branzino fillet, lightly sautéed with fresh mango chutney, tomato, lemon, and the perfect seasoning. Scampi alla Romana is sautéed jumbo shrimp in garlic and white wine sauce, served over rice. The seas of New Zealand yield a sea bass with firm, tender flesh that the expert chef will prepare in a special way every day.

Classic veal scalloppine doesn’t get better than here at Alberto’s, pounded so tender and gently sautéed with lemon and white wine. Breast of chicken Milanese is lightly breaded and pan fried until golden, topped with a bright salad with tomato and onion ($24). Chicken Valdostana is a Northern Italian dish stuffed with prosciutto, mushroom, and mozzarella and baked in sherry sauce. Tender filet mignon is sautéed in Barolo wine sauce, or broiled to order. The pork chop is tender and juicy, and all meat and fish entrees are served with your choice of freshly grilled vegetables, their famous crispy fried shoestring zucchini that I couldn’t stop eating, or home style potatoes that were great too. In classic style, dessert plates are chilled too, and allow you to enjoy the creamiest cheesecake ever, made from a recipe from one of their long-time customers. There’s also a crispy, creamy Napoleon pastry, and the chef’s special desserts to enjoy along with a rich cup of espresso and an after-dinner cordial.

Alberto is not only a restaurant, it’s part of the community it has served for 43 years. Silvana and Roberto have watched four generations of families grow up here, and continue to serve them their favorite meals. Alberto can arrange family gatherings in the dining room, or private parties for 40-80 people at lunchtime. They are open for dinner on Sunday from 4-10pm, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5-11pm. Alberto is closed on Tuesday, and there is easy parking outside. Visit their website for some stunning photos and to view the menu. Make your weekend or Valentine’s reservations now to hold your place in this beautiful restaurant. Auguri Alberto, e buon appetito!

98-31 Metropolitan Avenue
Forest Hills  718.268.7860

www.albertorestaurant.com

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