MVT Spotlight: Chef de Cuisine Amy Brandwein of Alba Osteria

The Mount Vernon Triangle CID is pleased to continue its Spotlight series with an interview of Alba Osteria Chef de Cuisine, Amy Brandwein. Alba Osteria opened just before New Year’s 2014 to rave reviews. Guests can anticipate cuisine from the region of Piemonte, Italy with a focus on the town of Alba. Alba Osteria made it a priority to welcome the neighborhood into its beautiful space with a neighborhood night full of extended happy hour specials and complimentary tastings. They have continued on that tradition with regular neighborhood nights every first Thursday of the month. We asked Chef de Cuisine, Amy Brandwein, to give us her insight into what makes Alba Osteria so special.

MVTCID: Alba Osteria prides itself on authentic Northern Italian cuisine, specifically the Piedmont region. What foods and style of cooking best characterizes these areas?

CHEF AMY: The region abounds in land for grazing animals and for wine production. So, it specializes in braised meats, veal and beef dishes from Piemonte Cattle, amazing cheese such as toma, robiola and funduta. Wine is  predominate force.  The famous wines of the region - Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo and Barbera - are often incorporated in the cooking. Polenta also plays a huge role as well as does Risotto from the nearby rice fields.

MVTCID: What are your favorite menu items if you were to sit down and have dinner with someone in our community?

CHEF AMY: I would have to order our Lingua al Verde (Veal Tongue - Green Sauce), Ratatuia Piemontese (Cauliflower - cardoons - Kabocha squash - garlic - cipollini onion - anchovy sauce), Our house made Trofie alla Finanziera (Chestnut Trofie with Finanzieria Sauce, made of sweetbreads - veal brains - chicken liver - marsala). The final touch for the evening would have to be our Apple Fritters!

MVTCID: Tell us about the Chef Bar idea and menu?

CHEF AMY:  I wanted to do a tasting menu at the expansive Chef’s Table we have but I wanted to push myself to go beyond cooking and be able to create an experience with choosing flavor profiles and wines to enhance the food. It is a challenge for me that I fully embrace! The menu will draw from all parts of Italy and incorporate a lot of fresh ingredients in both the cooking and cocktails.

MVTCID: What should we expect on the menu as Spring (finally!) arrives?

CHEF AMY: I love to cook what is in season from local farmers. So, ramps, asparagus, morels and stinging nettles are always on my list. Plus soft shell crabs, peas and fava beans.

MVTCID: Thank you, Chef! We look forward to many wonderful meals at Alba Osteria!

For further information on Alba Osteria, please visit www.albaosteriadc.com.