Albarino in Shrewsbury


(David) #1

Went last night after hearing some good things. It’s easy to miss the parking lot just before the Grove 2 off rt 35, but if you turn onto Patterson Ave, right after World Market and Deans and then make your first left into the lot, your next left is for Albarino. It was a nice night and the outside tables were packed so it’s a good thing we made reservations. The staff were attentive and professional.

They bill themselves as a wine bar and tapas place, but they have a full bar including some interesting Gin and tonic options and craft cocktails. We decided to sample a few of the tapas. The empanada and the garlic shrimp came out first, and while the empanada was good, the shrimp were excellent - perfectly cooked in a bowl redolent with garlic. The only thing that would have made it even better would be if they served bread to soak up all that goodness.

They had an iberico ham special at, I think, $28 and ounce for just the ham. For some reason I thought we weren’t able to get real pata negra here in the states, so I was wary. We decided to have a different special that used the ham - two sunny side up eggs over crispy ham and brussel sprouts. This was the star dish of the night on a night with a few stars. We also had an order of fried eggplant that struck me as kinda plain.

They have a pastry chef and we sampled two desserts. The chocolate pastel was a bit dense but chewy and good. But the almond cake was light and airy and paired perfectly with some citrusy caramel.

We enviously observed another couple eating the paella for two and I think next time we go it will be with another couple so we can share some of that.


(Junior) #2

Well if you are in need of another couple, you’ve got my number! Nice review glad you enjoyed and thanks for taking one for the team! I have to make a point to make it over there, I’m very concerned about the location though, I pass that place a dozen times on an average weekend, yet you don’t know it’s there. You mentioned a liquor license, did the town issue a new one for them?


(Mr met) #3

JR-

Hyper-locally, the word is out, mostly I think due to liquor license. LS/Shrewsbury esp seem to be all over this place. One night I’ll have to check it out as well, although the prices all seemed to be about 15-20% to high for booze at least at first glance. That coupled with the middle of the road reviews for their Princeton joints gives me pause. However, Seal’s review gives me great hope


(Jeff) #4

The menu looks nice and with Seal’s report I will definitely check this place out. Maybe we should get a group together and try everything.


#5

Yes please!!


(Roz Rappaport) #6

seal’s review + an appealing menu (to picky me) = on our “go to” list.

Albarino’s Website

My Blog
My Flickr


(Junior) #7

Where did you find their prices? I checked their web site and they menu doesn’t list them.

Ahhhhhhh yes, now that I went to their web site I see they are part of the “Terra Momo” restaurant group, known for their Mercer County / Princeton Location(s). I’ve only dined at Eno Terra, and besides the pretentiousness of being in the “greater Princeton” area, the place was average. I wasn’t impressed.

Very similar to the Witherspoon Grill, once I actually got over there to eat I was amazed that this was the place with all the hype of being one of Princeton’s best steakhouses. ((shurgs))


(Mr met) #8

I guess I was mores referring to booze, if you click on “wines by glass” for instance it brings ups page asking you to click on .pdf which then has prices… I know we pay a peninsula tax and now we’re adding in a Grove tax (although does Grove West still count??). but cheapest glass of wine was 10 bucks, even sangria. Just seems way to high for entry point to me. Go as high as you want on the high end here, hell, offer the Spanish equvilant of Screaming Eagle Cab Sav as someone will buy it, but at least offer a cal value points for 8 bucks, he’ll I’ve paid less for glass of good Spanish whites in midtown. Spanish whites aren’t exactly breaking the bank cost wise, I have about 3 or 4 I rotate that all cost less than 10 retail a bottle, let alone wholesale or case price. The first bottle I looked at was 30 bucks for the 375ML bottle, wine searcher show 18 bucks in NJ as retail…for the 750ML.

That being said, Seal’s review will force me now to go check it out, as perhaps I’ll go just for the food, as he gave them such a nice reveiw. I’m game to support anyone looking to expand choice in the two forgotten towns of LS/Shrewsbury anyhow; just saw two strikes out of the gate given operators and what looks to me like a higher than normal up charge for location.


(Junior) #9

Thank you for the clarification.


(Mr met) #10

it made sense in my head before I posted it…lol…I guess that’s the Irish in me, right to the booze.
If at the very least it forces D’Jeet to actually try and compete for a change it will be worth it for me…lol


(David) #11

OK, I just have to say that I’m feeling a lot of pressure since I am the only HO who has tried this place :wink:

I also thought the place was a tad expensive. I didn’t try the potatoes and the red sauce for those are one of my usual yardsticks for tapas places. So I think a return trip is in order.


(Junior) #12

Thanks to @seal for taking one for the team and placing this back on my radar. The wife and I had no plans and since this is very local we went over. 7pm table for 2 we’re told 30-45 min wait, I looked at the hostess and said: “I’m notjrvedivici, I’m personal friends with seal of Hungry Onion” hostess replies: “Oh I’m so sorry Notjrvedivici, we have a table ready for you right now”! It’s good to know the king!

(just kidding there was no wait we were immediately aware) The only tables available were on the patio which is enclosed and have portable heaters. They even provide small blankets on your chair if it gets too cold! Although the patio was comfortable it wasn’t an enjoyable experience with heavy Rt 35 traffic a passing bus will vibrate the entire enclosure and road noise is a constant. Also cars turning into the parking lot from 35 blinds you about every minute or two.

Food:
Beet salad, charcuterie, empanadas, garlic shrimp, pork belly and stuffed peppers.

Beet salad was excellent (per my wife) charcuterie meat was very good and generous but the cheeses were skimpy especially for $37. also some more accompaniment would have been nice.

Pork belly was served with brussel sprouts and a sunny side up egg. The flavors were very delicious and velvety, but the pork belly itself was almost pure fat. A piece literally had no meat to it just a cube of fat, delicious fat, but all fat.

Garlic shrimp was very good but only 6(?) small shrimp to the order. Empanadas were meh…the stuffed peppers were very good.

Service was fairly lacking, I don’t think it was typical I just think our server was / is not meant for serving. Very nice, very “forgetful”, the pork belly was only ordered when I looked up seals review and he mentioned ordering a special. We had already placed our order when I realized we were never given specials, when I asked our server if they had specials she responded: “yes, but didn’t I already take your order”? Not in a snotty way, just truly clueless. Lol

Place had a decent wait by the time we left at 8:15/30 and I would certainly go back but I’m not in a rush to return. It was overall good but not really my kind of place. Obviously tastes vary and I have no reason to discourage anyone from trying it for themselves.

(got too distracted by eating to take pics of everything)


(David) #13

From your pic I see what you mean with the pork belly and it looks like they overcooked your egg. That dish benefited greatly from the crispy bits of iberico ham - they need to only make it that way. The way the yolk surrounded those ham crisps was great with the brussels. And, for what they charge, you’d think they would give you some bread with those six shrimp!


#14

Wow that does look light for a 37 dollar board. I am not sure of the cost but the Angelicas one is pretty solid. I think I will pass on this place unless the paella gets some killer reviews.

Way to take one for the team seal!


(Mr met) #15

Passed by on Friday and Sat nights around 8 or so and plans was jumping. DJeet only bad like 8 people in the place at same time. So it seems they are doing well off the bat, wonder if it will keep up after initial buzz dies down. I’m sure the booze will help keep them going. Seems like they do some stuff right, hopefully as time goes on more people end up with a Seal type experience.


(Dan) #16

What do they charge for the dinner paella for two? Anyone? Thanks.


(Junior) #17

$ 48? That seems to ring a bell with me, I was heavily considering it but it didn’t come with lobster which I enjoy so that turned me away from it.

@Metsfan53 Please don’t let my review discourage you from going, it was a good over all experience I just would make a reservation so you don’t get a seat on the patio. My service issue was strictly my server I can recognize that, nice enough person just not mentally cut out to be a server.


#18

That seems kind of pricey. I mean it’s a bunch of cheap rice with a little chicken, sausage and clams/mussels. I think I’ll stick with costa verde :slight_smile:


(Jeff) #19

I paid 50 euros for this chicken, rabbit and chorizo paella at Restaurante Levante Valencia in Spain. It was enough for 4 people and well worth the money. They are known for the best paella in Spain. It was fantastic. They cook it over a fire and the rice on the bottom gets very crispy.


#20

Wow…that looks good! You know what, I don’t think I’ve ever had rabbit. I’m not sure why. I have eaten some animals not “that” common in the American diet: caribou, kangaroo, moose, gator, ostrich, elk, emu, and others… I need to give rabbit a try. I like fatty meats so I’m not sure rabbit will be up my alley. Nonetheless, thanks for bringing up the topic and the nice pic :slight_smile: