The real Alhambra (in Granada, Spain), took well over 600 years to reach its present state, with various dynasties tearing down and building up parts of the complex over the centuries to suit their particular political and religious needs. Much the same can be said of our own Alhambra Palace, which seems to be undergoing similar machinations, albeit at a much faster pace.
If we recall correctly, we first got wind of executive chef Eric Aubriot’s departure from the Dish, proceeded to read a first-hand account of the awkward transition period from Time Out, and were spurred into action by a report in yesterday’s Tablehopping that a new menu would be unveiled for the weekend (it is the menus, after all, that we live for).
Well sure enough, here it is. The new executive chef, Daniel Wright - who helmed Alhambra’s previous incarnation, Souk - has fashioned a more orthodox Morrocan menu, reducing (but not eliminating) the French accent of the prior offerings. While the rack of lamb with ratatouille, basil puree and a light herb sauce ($36) and the risotto in a savory parmesan and creme fraiche sauce ($18) are gone, the lobster ravioli remains, with a few slight alterations (like dropping in price from $26 to $24). New items include the tasty sounding grilled scallops tagine, with seared sea scallops and fresh tomato basil sauce, chic peas, and pistachio nuts ($26), which reminds us that Moroccan cuisine had a built-in French element long before Aubriot was born.
Of serious legal and symbolic importance is the note attached to the bottom of the new menu, which reads “We Serve Only Halal Meats.” This assurance signals a shift in focus from an Orientalized pleasure palace to a serious destination for North African cuisine that might attract a more catholic clientele. That’s our reading, anyway. We wish Wright and Alhambra luck on their new formulation - let’s hope, for their sake, that they can bring the food and service quality up to the level of the decor.
[Photo: From around a month ago, when the palace was bumpin’ (Bianca Marjatta!!/flickr)]