First Bite: Albatross Soars
Danville’s new global bistro is a neighborhood gem.
Turns out you can have your cake and eat it too—the plate presentations at Albatross are highly refined, the flavors worldly, and the decor sophisticated. Yet the vibe is that of a neighborhood bistro: relaxed and convivial. The servers’ long starched aprons, the weighty drapery, and napkins so luxurious you’ll want to stash them in your purse, are just the backdrop to a good time and for a cuisine both ambitious and restrained.
Poached and grilled octopus, its texture almost creamy, is paired with earthy baby potatoes smashed with ’nduja—a spreadable, spicy Italian salumi—given an extra lift by capers, lemon oil, and dots of saffron aioli. Classic French duck liver mousse is loosened with house-made crème fraîche and vivified with fragrant prune jam. Kampachi is lightly cured and served ceviche style, a la Mexico, with wintery citrus, including oro blanco, on pale baby endive with shaved wheels of spicy green serrano. And lamb ragout—knobs of slow-braised shank meat—lands in Persia with a crispy saffron rice cake and preserved peppers.
Even our dessert was extraordinary: a perfectly poached pear in fragrant syrup with a quenelle of sorbet, a sweet crunch, and an artful smear of white chocolate.
The collaborative team, under CEO Merasa Bagheri (partner at Primavera Ristorante in San Ramon), stars executive chef Brian Bowen (an alum of Cavallo Point in Sausalito) and pastry chef Andrea Morgan, whose resume includes stints at some of Chicago’s finest kitchens.
312 Railroad Ave., Danville, (925) 718-5445, albatrossdanville.com. Dinner Wed.–Sat.