After a two-year hiatus from his beloved Garden State food cart, chef Kevin Sandri is back in the game at the newly renovated Alberta Street Pub. The result is about as good as pub food gets, with lowbrow bites fueled by farm-fresh seasonality and East Coast sandwich craft.
Under the banner “A.S.P. Re-Established 2013,” the longtime dark den is completely transformed, with paneled booths in front, a beautifully engineered music venue for neighborhood concerts around the corner, and a wood-covered, 100-seat patio that wraps around the building’s south and west sides.
The food has changed, too—dramatically. The cult-forming sandwiches from Garden State have been reincarnated: a fried chickpea number with carrot-radish slaw and lemon aioli, an unimpeachable meatball hero, and a burger so good it warranted its own “Burgatroyd” food cart (now under new ownership). Sandri’s reimagined pub food comes in the form of “dirty fries” littered with garlic, hunks of wine-braised lamb, feta, pepperoncini, and bright plucks of preserved lemon. The requisite fish and chips throw a flavorful hat in the ring for best in the city, deep-fried in an Occidental Hefeweizen batter, the whole fillets of Alaskan cod steamed to their moist, gravity-defying apex.
On weekends, step onto the sun-soaked patio for a captivating brunch, highlighted by “crème brûlée” French toast with peanut butter banana crème, green eggs and lamb with mint pistou and merguez sausage, and a chile relleno with house-made chorizo and home fries. [UPDATE: As of 8/30, Alberta Street Pub has suspended brunch service indefinitely] It’s still a pub, to be sure, but summertime on Alberta has never tasted so good.