The next stop on our Washington DC eating adventures was dinner at Albi. Given the focus is on Levantine cooking I was very excited as it’s one of my favourite cuisines (and veg friendly!). The space was lovely, the staff were incredibly helpful and we could see into the kitchen which I always love. A couple of weeks after we visited Albi was awarded their first Michelin star, so it’s probably going to come as no surprise that we loved our visit!
So, what did we eat and drink! We started with a cocktail while perusing the menu, as well as some delicious pickles they popped on the table for us.
There was no way we weren’t ordering one of the Pita and dips, and decided to go with the classic Beiruti style hummus ($17). The pita was everything I was hoping for – warm, light, fluffy and just so delicious. The hummus was equally excellent – topped with brassica and red peas it was smooth and creamy with delicious added flavour from the toppings. We were off to a very good start!
Next up was the Pear and Cucumber ‘Fattoush’ ($19) which came with feta, harissa, pita and pomegranate molasses. This was fresh, crunchy and such an interesting mix of flavours. I loved the crunchy pita bread with the sweetness of the pears and the little bit of heat from the harissa. One of my favourite dishes of the night – and that’s saying something!
Our next Albi dish of choice was the Sweet N’ Sumac Yams ($18) served with apricot honey, whipped feta and smoked peanut harissa. I will never turn down yams when I see them on a menu – although these were more like what I would call sweet potatoes than a traditional kiwi yam. Most importantly though they were delicious! Really nicely caramelised and the addition of the crunchy peanuts on top worked so well with the creamy feta.
The Grilled Beets ($17) was up next, which came with fermented muhammara, kashkaval and walnuts. My family are always fan of a beet dish (although I’ll never get used to calling them that rather than beetroot!) and this certainly didn’t disappoint. The photo doesn’t do this dish justice, but they were perfectly cooked, sweet and tender and just all around delicious.
The last of our Mezze items was the Smoked Lamb Dolma ($22) which came with awarma, smoked tomato and spices. I obviously didn’t try this dish, but they disappeared quickly so I always take that as a good sign!
The BBQ’d Black Bass ($60) with Palestinian maftoul, littleneck clam tabouli, smoked jalapeno and amba yoghurt I also didn’t try. I didn’t even get a chance to photograph it before it was served up and eaten! However, my folks ranked it as one of the best individual dishes they ate on our entire holiday, so I am taking that as very positive feedback!
Last but not least, our very helpful server was able to suggest a whole roasted cauliflower to us that wasn’t actually on the menu. It came with bok choi and carrots and was absolutely one of the best roast cauliflowers I have ever had. It was perfectly cooked – tender but still charred on the outside and packed with flavour. We were slightly defeated by the quantity of food, but took the leftovers home with us so they absolutely weren’t wasted!
It’s safe to say I wasn’t surprised when I saw Albi is now a Michelin starred restaurant. Not only was the food absolutely top quality, but the staff were excellent and the entire experience was such high quality. It wasn’t a cheap night out, but we left incredibly full and very happy!