Robert Del Grande added Pizzeria Alto to the second floor of his most recent venture… Ava Kitchen & Whisky Bar. Bubbly fun décor downstairs will smack a smile right on your face. As always, the atmosphere in every Schiller-Del Grande restaurant is exceptionally stunning. Just try and leave without a warm fuzzy feeling of décor joy… Impossible.
Located on Kirby in the new development, West Ave, Pizzeria Alto sits at the entrance to the new slew of restaurants and shops. Ride an escalator down from the parking garage or valet, if that suits your fancy. Either way, the choices for dining are vast.
The previous pictures are all downstairs at Ava Kitchen & Whisky Bar. Make your way up the endless staircase to find a laid-back-classy dining experience waiting at Pizzeria Alto. Not only will you find yourself jittery with jubilance, you will most likely run into a person possessing qualifications necessary to leave all tongue tied and totally titillated…The Manager.
Slow motion moments make my heart squeal. The next is one that tops them all as the best of the best slow motion sashays ever to be performed by a dot dot dot manager.
Off into the distance, it appeared as though a designer suit stitched to perfection was headed my way. With a swagger reserved only for top grossing movie stars in L.A., this manager made his way to greet me.
As the general manager, gulp, Rawad Semaan, shook my hand… I found myself mesmerized by a suit screaming Versace. If only I were wearing my Versace dress… sigh… we would be as one. Moving past this moment of erotica, I mustered up the urge to… greet him right back. Yelp.
After confirming I was waiting for radio host writer extraordinaire… John DeMers, his sashay continued on to the hostess stand. Confusion ran its course until he returned stating, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” Don’t we all wish for Greek god gorgeousness to speak these words in our presence? Positive. Could I remember where we crossed paths on this planet we call Earth? Negative.
To my surprise, I had just semi stalked and shook hands with the previous manager of… The Grove. For those unfamiliar with last year’s article, I spoke candidly about this manager’s skills as a… bartender. Not only is his managerness well above average, he won the Bombay Sapphire GQ Inspired Bartender Contest. His winning drink, which was featured in GQ Magazine, was the “Summer in Bombay” consisting of Bombay Sapphire, grapefruit, soda, sweet & sour, and sea salt.
Scream. Fidget. Squirm. Um, moving right along…
Per Schiller-Del Grande’s website, enter into their take on what Alto’s existence really means…
“Alto Pizzeria is a decidedly casual setting with all manner of creative and traditional pizzas, pastas, salads and sandwiches. Add a wide selection of beers and wines and you’ve got a great setting to meet up with friends, watch a game, or drop in for a late night drink.”
Once entering into Alto’s humble abode, peruse the “Oven Roasted” section and find artichoke “fonduta” with fontina & pecorino. This appetizer is a perfect starter. Another choice is mussels with fennel & garlic butter or little neck clams with roasted Fresno Chiles.
In this section also exists a dish for all carnivores’ delight…
Low & behold, we have stuffed mushrooms bearing… Bolognese. My radio reporting mentor of all restaurant writing intelligence, John DeMers, um, tasted this delightful beefy dish of carnivore delish, and stated… thumbs up.
Everyone’s gotta love the fried section of a menu. The Gulf shrimp fritto is served with chile & lime. It’s always exciting when fried food doesn’t feel fried. This app doesn’t leave the always helpless deep fryer fatty feeling. Fried squid with parsley & lemon is available, along with chicken wings, ewe. These wings of glory are served with red chile vinegar & gorgonzola sauce.
Joy arrived with the Greek Salad… feta, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, pepperoncini, and red onions. I became excited about this salad, even expressing my joy on AVH facebook. All of the sudden, like a hurricane making landfall on the very first day of hurricane season, a certain sous chef, from another restaurant, became agitated with this Greek salad superiority. He was painfully the antonym of precise in delivering his conviction.
Secret Sous Chef Comment:
“ANYONE can make a Greek salad! My sister can make a better Greek salad than that!”
Excuse me? I’m sorry. Did someone hit you on the head with a sassy stick? Um, just so you know, this is the wrong kind of sassy to maintain. To prove this statement unworthy, I will first use myself as an example… I can’t make a fabulous Greek salad. I am POSITIVE Macaroni Grill cannot make a stupendously superb Greek salad (because they suck at just about everything). Therefore, one can only conclude that this chef must receive, without wasting a single spray of chef coat starch, a Double Sassy Statement Wow.
The vegetarian pizza is prepared with tomato, cheese, broccoli rabe, mushroom, onions, and arugula. Ironically, this pizza is the least favorite of the three pizzas ordered. So boring is this pizza, one may consider diving into the stone oven.
The margherita pizza with tomato & fresh basil could not have been any better, possessing perfectly crunchy crust with the best flavors imaginable. Tomatoes bringing forth a feeling of being freshly plucked from a garden out back.
Ahh, enjoyment was present while digging in to the fig pizza. Like a relaxing walk on the beach holding hands with my soul mate… refreshing… well, almost… For this gorgonzola pizza has arugula with mission figs which possess… bacon. In an acute expose of menu hyperness, AVH didn’t see the word pig, Wilbur, or… piglet… Oh well, let the therapeutic process commence.
Off we go…
Wow… sour dough doughnuts with nutella. Do not mess around people. Alto’s menu clearly states this gift is… limited. Being stuffed didn’t stop devourment of this gentle giant. John and I gobbled it right up!
Sorbet is always a perfect ending to a satisfying meal. All of the desserts are $5, with the other options being cookies or ice cream. Simple, yet sweet. Awe.
Chef Robert Del Grande’s idea of pizza has pizzazz with a bit of a mini twist. Pizzeria Alto is a winning addition to West Ave, offering a perfect early or late night stop for cocktails with pizza & pasta. I continue to be a fan of restaurateur slash chef Robert Del Grande and look forward to dinner… downstairs.
FIVE: High 5!
FOUR: Please & Thank You
TWO: Double Wow
ONE: Wow + Ouch = Wouch