By Dane Feldman

Photo by Dane Feldman.

Aleo is an Italian restaurant located on West 20th Street between 5th and 6th Ave in New York City. It’s open for lunch and dinner and is considered one of the neighborhood’s “premier” Italian spots.

The food
Aleo offers a lunch pre fixe menu, a standard dinner menu, a lunch specials menu, a tapas menu, and a casual dining menu. During my first and only visit to Aleo so far, I was joined by several other BTR staff members for lunch who were all looking for a change of pace from our favorite spot, The Storehouse.

We happened upon Aleo because the restaurant offers a similar lunch specials menu to that of The Storehouse: pick a main dish and it comes with a choice of wine or soft drink.

Aleo’s menu is classic Italian with a casual and somewhat modern spin. Some of the highlights include the Root Vegetable Salad: roasted beets, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, caramelized red onion, and imported goat cheese crumbles served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar; the Aleo Sirloin Burger: fresh ground sirloin burger topped with caramelized onions, crispy pancetta, and melted Gorgonzola cheese on a toasted roll served with pickles and home cut fries; as well as the classic favorite Linguini Fra Diavolo: Long Island clams, PEI mussels, calamari, Gulf shrimp, and pepperoncini in a tomato basil sauce. The Fra Diavolo can be ordered for one or for two.

Aleo also serves up homemade desserts.

The drinks
The restaurant boasts a full bar and offers happy hour on weekdays. Because I dined here for lunch, I stuck with wine (I ordered a sauvignon blanc, which was quite nice for a lunch special) instead of going for a cocktail, but I’ll try a cocktail for sure if I make it to Aleo for happy hour.

The restaurant also offers soft drinks and a variety of specialty coffees.

The service/ambience
Aleo’s wait staff certainly lives up to its “sincere service.” The wait staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and accommodating with a sense of humor to boot. The service was a tad on the slow side, but I found that this fit well with the European ambience: Aleo has lovely indoor seating with French doors that open out to the street as well as a garden patio in the back, where I dined.

If you’re looking for a nice experience to savor, Aleo is the place for you. If you are looking for a quick lunch stop in between tasks at work, you ought to avoid this restaurant. This place is a sanctuary and the fact that the wait staff doesn’t rush its tables is something to be applauded.