Alberta Street Oyster Bar & Grill

By Camas Davis May 19, 2009

Eric Bechard, the talented chef who fashioned the upscale, creative menu at this low-key, casual establishment, may have recently jumped ship to head up a restaurant in Seattle, but fortunately he managed to train his sous-chef, Laurel Gunderson—now the restaurant’s executive chef—in all the right ways. Gunderson cranks out a menu that’s both accessible at its surf-and-turf foundation and touched by plenty of culinary flair. Her crispy veal sweetbreads are quite possibly the best in town: Soft, tender and full of flavor, they’re served over a ragout of grilled sweet corn and tender flageolet beans and topped with a confit of heirloom tomatoes that nearly melts in your mouth. As before, diners can’t go wrong with just about any seafood entrée, be it seared sea scallops wrapped in braised pork belly, a panfried skate wing with lobster cream, or grilled halibut laid over a bed of black lentils, green olives, and fried capers. And the come-as-you-are nature of this modern, not-quite-your-father’s oyster bar hasn’t changed a bit.