We’re just one month into the new year, and we already have a serious contender for Favorite Meal of 2018: The Alley at The Betsy Hotel. It’s been a while since we’ve had an entire meal that’s impressed us so much, but this cozy Italian restaurant knocked it out of the park. From the moment the starters hit the table to the last bite of dessert, we couldn’t stop smiling.
The Alley feels like a small New York City joint, and its entrance totally plays up the vibe. As the name suggests, The Alley is actually in an alley next to the hotel. Don’t worry: There’s nothing scary in there — just delicious food.
Among that delicious food are starters like the Whipped Ricotta and Crab Crostini, two distinct yet equally flavorful dishes. Grab the garlic and rosemary foccacia and scoop up some of the ricotta for a winning combination. The latter plate with its avocado and peas comes loaded with crab and zest — don’t expect skimpy portions here. One bite, and you already have your money’s worth.
Another highlight are the Veal and Mortadella Meatballs. If you have room for them, go for it. These super soft spherical bites come two per order, and they pair oh so well with the tomato pomodoro sauce. Once you’re done with appetizers, it’s time for pizza. There are 10 to choose from, and one should be enough for two people if you ordered appetizers. If not, definitely get one per person. For the sake of research, that’s what we did.
Our selections: the tried-and-true Pepperoni Pizza and The “Boucher.” You can never go wrong with pepperoni, and that’s the case here — especially since they use the good stuff (the pepperoni that curls). Not in the mood for something traditional? The Boucher with its smoked prosciutto and robiola should do the trick.
Whatever you do, make sure to ask about the daily pasta. We tried the Bucatini Pesto with eggplant caponata and wished it was on the menu all the time — so light, buttery and beautiful. Chefs Danny Ganem and John Kreidich also brought out Pipe Pasta with white bolognese that was loaded with flavor; it was heavier than its bucatini counterpart but we made room in our second stomach.
Speaking of a second stomach, dessert is life at The Alley. Fans of oranges should try the frozen iteration here; it’s three plays on orange, but it’s not overwhelming. Same goes for the Gelato: Order two scoops, and watch yourselves fight over who gets the wafer divider. Soon, we were creeping on each other’s gelatos because WE COULD NOT STOP EATING.
Seriously: The dessert spoons are shovels because they know you won’t be able to get enough. There’s also Tiramisu, a dessert we have a love/hate relationship with. Consistency has always been hit or miss when we’ve tried it, but here it’s a definite hit. Honestly, this blog post doesn’t do the restaurant justice. Go try the place out for yourself to see why we can’t stop lavishing it with praise. Just make sure to ask about the pasta.