Our last night just had the five of us taking it easy at our regular downtown spot previously know as Alex & Ika and now recreated as Alex's Bistro. The menu is largely the same, although the wine list is severely curtailed and the drinks changed.
I was upset not to see my Swedish Martini, but loved the Alex Lychee Martini which is as dry as can be with vodka and vermouth soaked lychee-kefir lime leaf and lime. Lukas Monster Margarita is still on the menu and was a hit as well.
We were upstairs and our server Christian worked hard running up and down to our crowded little room with old wooden tables and lots of mirrors on the wall; they were arranged oddly so he had trouble getting to the large party behind us!
I failed to mention that the day before at lunch the napkins at Mel's@22 were more like a paper towel, actually a kleenex....so teeny it was insane. Here they are a bit better, but if someone would pay for Vanity Fair dinner size napkins at these better dining spots, I think it would be worth the extra 10 cents!
We started with an unexciting Carmenet California Chardonnay and we loved the Flash Fried Shishito Peppers with Sea Salt & Lemon (I need to remember the lemon when I make these at home!).
Sam started with an order of Fingerling Potatoes and Aioli and begged for more of the latter. I had the superb Potato Leek Habanero Corn Chowder with Scallions on top which was just the right amount of spice calmed by the corn soup, which was pure corn with no cream and so tasty. Wild Shrimp Rice Noodle Fritters with Habanero Cream Cheese Stuffing and Mango Lime salsa seemed to be good, but had little shrimp flavor. While the Leeky Alsatian Bacon Tart with Pernod Creamed Leeks and Bacon on a Flaky Pastry Crust was indeed delicious although not Alsatian as the crust was puffier and higher and not flat.
We moved to a decent Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha from Calatayud in Spain 2013 and we sometimes heard the odd and loudish at times music (Layla??) which seemed not to fit.
Tipsy Potted Pig was Chipotle Pulled Pork with Calvados Chestnut Hash and Creamy Penne Pasta Alfredo & Arugula was a monster dish (well the main courses all were) and extremely rich, but superb. Salmon Sesame Noodles was seared Alaskan Coho with sweet tamari and sesame udon noodles, arugula, cucumber, fried shallots and pickled ginger and probably one of the lighter dishes, but still plenty left to take home.
My Tandoori Ribs were awesome was a madras Curry dry rub on the baby pork ribs as well as an amazing Tamarind Glaze a bit of the Mango Lime Salas on the side and a huge pile of tasty steamed Yucca. I took a good deal of these home and finished them yesterday!
We did not anticipate the huge portions and skipped dessert leaving us very full o our last wonderful night in Cooperstown.