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Aldo’s Sunday Brunch Begins Jan. 22

With a nod to Italy’s most famous egg dish, the frittata, legendary chef Aldo el Sharif introduces his fresh spin on Sunday brunch Jan. 22 at his new restaurant in the Woodlands area, Aldo’s Cucina Italiana. The festive service from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. marks the eatery’s first expansion beyond its ambitious nightly dinner menu. 

Aldo’s brunch features the chef’s creative spins on many classics of the genre, including eggs Benedict and other dishes upgraded with crabcakes, salmon or filet mignon. Still, the heart of the brunch menu has to be Chef Aldo’s Festa di Frittata, with no fewer than seven variations on the baked omelet-style delicacy beloved in all regions of Italy. 

“Brunch is happy,” pronounces Sharif, clearly aware that champagne cocktails such as bellinis and mimosas will play a role in guests’ brunch experience “It’s up, but it’s also a pleasant way to wind down after Saturday night. I want a brunch where people can sit, have a bite to eat, listen to piano and relax.” 

In lieu of the once-omnipresent hotel Sunday brunch harpist, Aldo’s version will feature the lively stylings of Lee Laforge, a combination of Broadway melodies and wonders from the Great American Songbook. A veteran of both Houston’s restaurants and musical theater productions, Laforge has become a popular part of the nightly Aldo’s Cucina Italiana experience   

The Festa di Frittata features the traditional Italian baked egg dish with flavorful touches like shrimp Provencal, prosciutto di Parma, Italian sausage and meatball, grilled chicken and mushroom, even grilled skirt steak. In addition to the brunch menu, each dish served with fresh fruit, baked beans and O’Brien potatoes, a three-course meal chosen from the dinner menu is available for $30. Reservations for the new Sunday brunch at Aldo’s Cucina Italiana can be made by calling 936.447.9623.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

A New Aldo’s – For a New Dining Reality!

 

Sixteen years after opening and seven years after closing one of the undisputed landmarks in Houston restaurant history, Aldo’s Dining con Amore, Chef Aldo el Sharif is working feverishly to open a new Italian restaurant in the Woodlands suited for less extravagant times but more focused than ever on authentic culinary pleasures. 

To hear Chef Aldo tell it, his vision for Aldo’s Cucina Italiana couldn’t be simpler: unmatched regional Italian cuisine, ranging from country rustic to city sophisticated, served with style in a comfortable and casual Italian setting, all for a price that’s a fraction of his Aldo’s image from the old lower Westheimer days. It’s all, he insists, about the Wow Factor. 

Wow! That’s what I want people to say when they finish eating, and especially when they finish paying the bill,” the chef says with a knowing grin. “I want people to be amazed at the value we can provide, because that’s what people want these days. They want an excellent meal, with terrific ambience and service, at a reasonable price. I am a reasonable man, and I don’t especially want to become a millionaire. In the end, really, the joy you give people by cooking for them has nothing to do with money.” 

 

Aldo’s Cucina Italiana – the name simple and direct to help make the chef’s point – will open its doors serving dinner only, with plans to add weekday lunch and even Sunday brunch at a later date. Also helping with that mission is the menu’s price structure: appetizers averaging about $8, with most entrees ranging from $14 to $20 and sharing the plate with sides the Italians love to call contorni. There will be an additional menu of small bites, known as primi piatti or cicchetti, offered in the restaurant’s spacious bar. Though he reserves the right to create whatever he wants for the bar menu, Aldo seems certain of one thing: “We’re not talking chicken wings.” 

The new Aldo’s Cucina Italiana will be licensed to serve signature cocktails, as well as beer and wine. In the wine department, always a point of pride (and price) at the old expense-account Aldo’s, modern realities will prevail. A full 50 percent of the bottles will fall in the $20-$40 range, with another 25 percent between $40 and $75. Only the uppermost 25 percent of special vintages will be priced at $75 and above. 

In a culinary career spanning four decades, Aldo el Sharif has cooked not only in the United States, including New York City, before Houston, but Milan and other parts of Italy, Monte Carlo, Athens, Paris, Lyon, Marseilles, London and Cairo. With a father from Egypt and a mother from Sicily, Chef Aldo’s vision reaches back to the beginnings of Western civilization and, specifically, of Western cuisine.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2011 in Uncategorized