SUNNY ISLES BEACH, Fla. – (Jan. 14, 2013) – Solé on the Ocean and Executive Chef Ralph Pagano are pleased to announce the official re-launch of Alba, a seaside Italian restaurant and lounge located at 17315 Collins Ave., inside Solé on the Ocean hotel. Overlooking the glimmering sands and turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the 130-seat indoor/outdoor beach-chic concept serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.
“Sole’s pristine beach, groovy design and incredible sunrises and sunsets seduced me like a siren,” says Pagano, whose effervescent personality has landed him multiple TV roles, including the host of Lifetime Television Network’s “All Mixed Up” and Travel Channel’s award-winning “Pressure Cook.” Ralph has battled Bobby Flay on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and been to Hell and back with Gordon Ramsay on the original season of FOX’s “Hell’s Kitchen.”
Pagano’s flavor balance stems from a lifetime of culinary travel mixed with Italian style and classic French technique, creating what he calls “vacation cuisine.” His approach to Alba’s menu is centered on casual fine dining and offers the freshest seafood and pasta, both à la carte and family-style.
The menu offers a daily variety of fresh seafood and shellfish, including legendary Florida Stone Crabs, Stingray Oysters, Maine Lobster Cocktail, Colossal Shrimp Cocktailand Maryland Lump Crab Cocktail. A selection of fresh fish is available and can be prepared simply grilled, Fra Diavolo-style with clams, mussels, shrimp and calamari in Arrabiata tomato sauce, or topped Oscar-style with colossal crab meat, hollandaise and jumbo asparagus.
Additional offerings include Piccolo Wagyu Sliders, black truffle oil, caramelized onions, provolone cheese; Grilled Baby Lamb Chops, with minted Greek yogurt; Rocket Salad, baby arugula, pistachio, crumbled goat cheese, sundried cherry and lemon dress; “Steakhouse Classics” such as 8oz Barrel Cut Filet Mignon with homemade Alba steak sauce;homemade pastas including Orchite, housemade fennel sausage, pecorino, and broccoli rabe; and “Old School” Italian entrees like Chicken Scarpariello, bone-in, sausage, mushroom and cherry pepper.
Pagano’s culinary prowess is enhanced by the rich, warm ambiance generated in the walnut-lined space, which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows complemented by walls lined with vintage “pin-up girls go to the beach-“themed artwork. Alba also features a 16-seat full-liquor bar serving craft cocktails as well as a 15-foot communal chef’s table that seats 20 guests.
Based on Ralph’s belief that “a little gamble goes a long way,” every table gets to play “The Vinny D Split.” At the end of the meal, before the check is presented, a bingo wheel with balls numbered 1 through 100 is brought to the table. The guests pick one number and the tumbler is spun. If the first ball pulled from the tumbler matches the one picked by the guest at the table, the entire check – food, drink and wine included – is on the house. “Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch, or, in this case, dinner,” asks Pagano?
As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Pagano has worked his way though some of New York City’s top kitchens, such as The Sign of The Dove, The Hudson River Club, The River Café and One if by Land, Two if by Sea. His two-decade career as a chef and restaurateur includes roles at West Broadway Restaurant, Bobby Van’s Steakhouse and chef and owner of The World Pie. Most recently, Pagano served as Executive Vice President of Hospitality at Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino. Pagano is also the official chef of number one-rated “The Paul & Young Ron Radio Showgram” on Big 105.9 Radio, where he dishes out recipes and culinary facts every Tuesday.