Alba Restaurant
Quincy, MA

Classic Reuben sandwich
Caesar salad with grilled shrimp

We literally tripped across the restaurant the other night while we were waiting for our order of Chinese take-out to be ready. We were impressed by the clean elegance of the interior, eggshell-colored paint contrasting with espresso-colored wood. In the evening it glowed, but in bright sunlight the next day it had lost much of its luster. I definitely recommend you go for dinner to enjoy the ambiance, not lunch. Although, it wasn’t until we went for lunch that I noticed the real gas lamps flanking the main doorway.

We’ve been on the lookout for a new rehearsal dinner location, and the Wine Room at Alba wins hands down. The same clean elegance upstairs carries down to this underground room, which is lined with wine bottles on every inch of wall.

The food is as clean and elegant as the decor. I found the dressing on the Caesar salad to be a little over-cheesy, but to me that is far, far better than being over salty or heavy on the anchovy. The grilled shrimp were excellently seasoned and perfect in texture and temperature.

The Reuben came with fries and red wine vinegar cole slaw. I am particularly against this style of cole slaw, it being the only type of slaw one finds out West. While this slaw wasn’t as offensive to my senses as those slaws from the past, it did have a certain citrusy tanginess one doesn’t usually expect from a slaw. If you are looking for something a little different, go for it; if you are a traditionalist, you might want to stay away. The fries were well textured but completely unspiced or unsalted — I like them that way, but DH always has to salt them. The Reuben itself was excellent in its contents, but DH just didn’t care for the crispy panini-style pressed bread. The second half of the sandwich was good as leftovers, though, after the bread had softened a little in the fridge.

The waitstaff was lovely, and attentive without being intrusive. Our water glasses were kept refreshed throughout the meal, and I always appreciate that. Granted, we must have been the only people in the restaurant at that time. Maybe on a busy Friday or Saturday night, the story may be different. At the end of our lunch we booked the Wine Room for our rehearsal dinner. Function menu prices are incredibly sensible for the elegance of the atmosphere and the quality of the food and the service.  For the price that some restaurants could charge for an entree, Alba is offering a full three-course meal. We’re really looking forward to sharing this culinary gem with our family and friends.

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