Dec 7, 2010



Price Range:   $$$
Accepts Credit Cards: probably
Take out: probably
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating:  no
Alcohol: yes


Food Quality: 3.5 out of 5
Decor:  4 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Overall: 3.8 out of 5
Recommendation: Pricey mediocre "Italian Food"

There is a magazine out there called 非凡 or "unique" that periodically recommends restaurants using flowery language and enticing photographs. I must warn the reader that any recommendation received by this entity is empty and meaningless. Under their wordsmithery, I was led to eat what I thought was just a mediocre meal, at a jacked up price. They serve many pastas, pizzas, and entrees, but of a quality that does not seem to match the price tag. Entrees are around 500 NT, pizzas are about 400 for an 8 inch, and pastas are around 350 NT per plate. Each item can be upgaded to a combo for 250 NT, which includes salad, soup, dessert, and a drink. I would not come here again, because there are better places for pizza, pasta, and the like at similar or better prices.

The decor is "wine-cellar"esque, giving it a more upscale and western feel, but not very elegant. The service was not bad, and they were nice, fast, and helpful with our orders. We did feel wierd to be the only people seated at the restaurant at 7:30 pm though. An empty restaurant is always a bad sign, and we were about to find out why this was so.

First up was our "salad." I haven't been to Italy, so I am not sure how they eat their salad, but I am used to mine chopped up to bite-sized portions and tossed with the dressing. They present me with this whole leaf of romaine lettuce with some toppings placed on top of it with a drizzling of dressing. I guess I am supposed to chop the lettuce up myself and eat each ingredient individually? Then why call it a freaking salad if I have to do all this work to nibble on a few ingredients? They claim they want to serve the freshest ingredients so they don't want to cut up the lettuce...sounds like a bunch of bull.

Next up, the soup. It wasn't half bad. The flavor of the pumpkin was undeniably present. The viscosity of the soup was thick enough to get a satisfying slurp form it. They did an alright job in this department in comparison to their competitors, so that is a plus.
Don't get the pizza here. Sure it is a lot cheesier than most places, but the crust is crunchy and the toppings are not that great. We got the four season pizza, which had a little bit of everything. It was palatable, but nothing gourmet like 15 or hearty like Fat Angelo's. I would not come here for pizza.

What the magazine recommended was this clay pot simmered beef stew. It comes with some noodles to eat with it. Inside you can fine melty portions of shank, tripe, tendon, and bone marrow. This was savory and well made. The stew captures the beef flavor well and paried well with the linguine noodles. This stew is probably the only thing that was above average that I tried at Albero's.

We also got the seafood medley. This dish was not very awe inspiring. The only thing cool about it was it's big prawn. The flavor of the sauce was weak and it was almost like eating lightly tomato sauce drizzled steamed seafood. The vegetables dashed inside were also very measely and unsatisfying. These were probably meant for only one person, but the dumb waiter thought two people can share an entree.

Thus, we tried their "fresh hand-made" bread, which is supposed to be something great, but actually came out completely disappointing. They put too much salt in the dough or something, because each bite became increasingly salty. There was no garlic flavor to the bread except that the top has some faint garlic oil to it. The texture itself was too dense and hard to chew. I like my breads fluffly inside and crispy on the outside, not brick-hard all around.
Lastly, their Tiramisu as the dessert. I liked the Dozo one a lot better than this one. There was no real creativity here except that coffe/chocolate stencil. It is basically a lot of mousse covered on top of very small nuggets of cake. It is not what you woul dthink of a typical tiramisu, which is a brick-like layering of mousse and cake. Imagine the cake portion being a string of 3 walnut sized-beads covered in creamy mousse. You get a hint of the coffe liquer and chocolate notes, but the milky/vanilla-ey cream dominates the flavor and the texture of the dessert. Not bad for people who are into sugary creaminess. Which is why I enjoyed it even though it was not very typical tiramisuish. (I like licking the icing off cupcakes and leaving the rest uneaten).

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