Rhonda On The Prowl: In Love With Alleia

Friday, January 8, 2016 - by Rhonda Tuggle

When the waitress at Alleia brought Flash’s quail out, his eyes widened. I think I saw a dribble of saliva slip from his mouth.  

It was Thursday night and Flash had taken me out for my birthday.  

He and I were sipping our glasses of Chianti after finishing our antipasti of fried Rhode Island calamari ($12) a few minutes before dinner was served. The calamari, lightly seasoned with salt and spritzed with lemon, was fresh and flavorful, just the right amount to hold us over until the main course.  

Located on East Main Street, Alleia is Chef Daniel Lindley’s creation of rustic Italian cuisine with local ingredients mixed in. Among other things, the menu includes several types of house made pasta, and pizzas made in a custom brick oven.   

Gas lanterns hung over the tables and lit up the dark atmosphere of the industrial restaurant with beautiful medieval accents. It was relaxing and calm inside: a place to have an exceptionally good meal on a special occasion.  

Flash’s meal ($24) came with five quail breasts topped with sprigs of collard greens and drizzled with a fig sauce. Steamed cabbage and sautéed potatoes were served as his sides. Flash reluctantly gave me a bite of the quail. It was tender and rich with seasoning and the sweet fig sauce.  

I ordered the Carolina Mountain trout ($23), grilled to perfection and served on top of fresh farm greens and polenta with a pumpkin sauce.  

This is the kind of food you want to take your time eating, because it is the kind of food that takes a lot of time and precision to prepare.  

That being the case, it was very hard not to gobble everything down it was so delicious. But Flash and I exercised self-control and savored our finely crafted meals.     

Had we not been too full, we would have splurged on a dessert of tiramisu or panna cotta ($8). The next time I dine at Alleia I want to try the seasonal ravioli with butternut squash and brown butter ($16).  

Flash and I left that night with a bill of $72 before tip.  

We cannot eat at Alleia all the time because it falls in the pricier category of restaurants. But if we have something to celebrate, or if we simply feel like indulging in an exceptional dining experience, Alleia is without a doubt a restaurant we will choose.  

The atmosphere is soothing, the service is on point, and the food is excellent. Do not deny yourself too long before falling in love with Alleia, too.    

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