Garden Oaks residents already know d’Alba Craft Kitchen & Cocktails has opened. They have been pouring into the new restaurant since owner Daut Elshani started operations on September 18th.
Elshani, who has experience with opening concepts like The Moonshiners and Beer Market Co. for the Salt N Pepper Group as well as the Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company’s brewery in Sawyer Yards, sees d’Alba (named after the street it’s on) as Neighborhood restaurant with dishes and cocktails made from fresh ingredients that are served at an affordable price.
In a detailed statement, Elshani traces the development process of d’Alba, starting with bike tours through the neighborhood and overcoming the pandemic-related price peaks for building materials and the tense labor market.
“It was our aim to offer a casual ambience with fine cuisine and cocktails, with the aim of not following trends or giving the concept an expiration date,” writes Elshani. “With d’Alba we achieved exactly that and more, we were able to make better use of the terrace and create different zones indoors and outdoors that are suitable for neighbors who visit us with children, strollers and dogs, or the local renovation experts Weg for a date or birthday party, we could capture them all, one place for all occasions. “
Chef Geoff Hundt (Local Foods Benjy’s) created the menu, while former Sous Chef at Brasserie 19, Mike Hartley, will run the kitchen daily. Guests can start their meal with an eclectic selection of shared foods, such as campechana with blue crab and prawns, spinach and artichoke dip, and three types of oysters: raw, grilled and fried.
Pizzas, pasta, salads and starters complete the offer. Choose from a chef-cut steak with salsa verde, golf fish with roasted sunchokes, pasta Bolognese (with locally sourced beef) and a baby kale salad with goat cheese. Vegan and vegetarian dishes are spread across the entire menu.
“Each section has at least two hidden and completely vegetarian or vegan options, albeit without commenting on that label. We achieved our goal for an avid Houston diner to try a fried tempeh sandwich or a dairy-free Caesar dressing with a dairy-free vegan spinach and artichoke dip and let yourself be absolutely overwhelmed by the flavors, “adds Elshani.
Anvil veteran Kehlen Selph developed the d’Alba cocktail menu, which contains 22 house cocktails plus a few more, which will be launched in the coming weeks for the brunch start. You can choose from the restaurant’s interpretation of the extremely popular Espresso Martini, a cocktail with beet tequila and an old fashioned with bourbon enriched with dates and pumpkin seeds.
Bringing d’Alba to life was a true family affair for Elshani. He recruited his brother Filiz and his cousins Leon and Fatos Barileva for the project. Together they designed the clean, modern interior and the spacious terraces of the restaurant.
While only about 70 percent of the menu is currently available due to staffing problems, Elshani estimates that d’Alba will be 100 percent operational by the end of October. Until then, he invites guests to try the offer and enjoy this neighborhood newcomer, which is open daily for lunch and dinner.