ALO, ALOETTE AND ALOBAR: A TRIUMVIRATE OF GREAT RESTAURANTS, each seemingly defined in the mind of chef and owner Patrick Kriss from the outset. He calls Alo “our take on a tasting menu, but more fun.” Of Aloette, “it’s the baby Alo, à la carte, casual, a diner.” As for Alobar, “stuck in the middle, in a good way.”
The original idea was that Aloette would be “a classic French diner,” says Kriss. “It’s a diner because that’s all that could fit in the existing space,” says Kriss. Imagine if Flo from the 1980s TV show Alice got a Beverly Hills facelift and served sea urchin on toast soldiers instead of chicks on a raft. That’s Aloette.
It isn’t difficult to pivot with food and service between the rarefied Alo and the laid-back Aloette, Kriss says. “We just want people to come in, relax and have a great time.” As for the food, he says both restaurants benefit from the same quality ingredients. A dish at Alo could mean a long-perfected smoked P.E.I. Malpeque oyster with watercress purée, cress and horseradish, while at Aloette, oft-changing ingredients mean staff come up with daily specials such as crispy oyster mushrooms. “So, the curveball ended up being a blessing,” says Kriss.
And then there’s Yorkville’s Alobar, which feels like Alo with sneakers: similar standards, more casual vibe. Kriss says he likes the bar at the flagship Alo so much that they extended it into a restaurant concept. “It’s kind of our take on a steakhouse,” he says, even though there are just two steaks on the menu (a 24-oz USDA Prime ribeye and a 32-oz USDA Prime T-bone), the two they deem the best and the best for sharing, as Alobar is all about shared plates.
If he could eat at just one of his restaurants, Kriss says, he’d choose Alobar. Though of course, he adds, “I like them all.”
— AMY ROSEN