Restaurant Guide 2013: Tasty N Alder

580 SW 12th Ave., 621-9251; 3808 N Williams Ave., 621-1400 (Tasty N Sons);

From Toro Bravo to Tasty N Sons and now Tasty N Alder, John Gorham has made a career out of never having to stage his dishes; everything is family style, which means the food comes when it wants to, and then one of the city's most pleasant, hardworking, unfussy service staffs wear out their shoes on eight trips to your table. At a friendly meal for four, this is great; at a business dinner, it's a little strange when your steak frites arrives 15 minutes before your client's cavatelli sugo. But this aside, the West End's Tasty N Alder is the apotheosis of the Gorham restaurant—which have included two previous WW restaurants of the year—less an ode to meat than an epic made of meat. All proteins in Gorham's world come large, from a monstrous and delicately tender tendril of octopus ($15) to a the largest pork chop that I've heretofore known ($22), an apple-brined product of a Brobdingnagian pig. Radicchio, patiently soaked free of bitterness, comes with lardons larger than knuckles. But it is the contrasts that define the place: the gentle textures amid mammoth cuts, the lightness of NY Strip Steak bulgogi ($15), the heartiness of feather-thin chard ($7). The restaurant's décor is minimal, its feeling precisely the opposite.

Ideal meal: It's a steakhouse, right? Come as two or three, get at least one beef cut—whether half or whole—never miss the radicchio and then try at least two things you've never had.

Best deal: That pork chop could feed two, and the pricing on Gorham's dishes never catches up to their value. Still, brunch is cheap. 

Pro tip: Day drinker? From 2-5:30 pm, $2 mugs of fine German beer and $5 NYC chili dogs will greet you at the table.   

9 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 9 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday. $$-$$$.


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