The space at 200 Lark Street in Albany (most recently Lark + Lily for a brief run, and before that the Wine Bar and Bistro) is one of my absolute favorite restaurant locations. There is something very “Albany” about it to me, like you are actually in the core of the City itself. I love all of the exposed brick and the cozy little tables, especially the fireplace nook and the hidden patio out back. It is so perfectly romantic and charming without being pretentious.
I have been eager to try out the newest inhabitant ever since I heard that Mio Posto was relocating there. You may recall that Mio Posto was originally in Saratoga Springs, but was displaced by a fire last fall. The restaurant’s menu and early images of elevated Italian fare coming out of the Albany kitchen looked excellent. So when the place finally opened this summer, I made sure to find some room in my calendar.
My first impression was the house bread, served with butter but also with a dish of white beans with garlic, parmesan, olive oil, and lemon zest. This was a lovely opening note to the meal, and I could have eaten three more loaves of the bread alone. It was wonderfully crisp on the outside, airy in the middle, and sturdy enough to dip into the beans without crumbling apart.
We also tried one of the salad specials, which had an arugula base with grilled peaches, pistachios, blue cheese, something similar to prosciutto, and a vanilla cantaloupe vinaigrette. I was excited about the combination of ingredients, but ended up being a little underwhelmed by this dish. I think the main issue was just the proportions – it was 90 percent arugula and 10 percent all of the other delicious things. There were only a few very thin peach slices, and a small handful of scattered nuts beneath the greens. The dressing was also pretty mild, and perhaps even more sweetness would have helped to cut the bitterness of the arugula.
Luckily, our main dishes were able to turn the volume back up. The star was a heaping plate of Bucatini all’Amatriciana ($22). Although described as a spicy dish, it didn’t really have much heat. But regardless, the sauce was rich and complex with meaty pork flavors and a little touch of peppery spice at the end. House-made bucatini, a hollow, thick spaghetti, had just the right amount of bite to it and was the perfect vessel for the sauce.
A scallop dish was on the pricier side ($30) but well worth the cost based on portion size alone. Seared scallops were topped with a sweet corn cream sauce, alongside roasted cauliflower and a lobster risotto. There was a lot of beige on this plate, but the flavors were diverse and interesting. The risotto was one of the best that I’ve had in the area, with a classic creamy texture that wasn’t too thick, sizable chunks of lobster, and a strong presence of fresh basil. The scallops were cooked perfectly with both sides browned and a nice tender texture.
Mio Posto is not the cheapest place for Italian cuisine, but the value is really there in terms of portion size, quality execution, and menu creativity. The standout to me was the pasta dish, which is always a good takeaway for an Italian restaurant. If the portion sizes are worrisome, you’ll be happy to know that you can also order the pasta dishes in a half serving.
Final Rating: 8.5/10, with the potential to get bumped up after another visit. The bread and the entrees were top notch, as was the service. Although we weren’t enthused about the salad, there was definitely some creative thought put into the ingredients. I’m looking forward to seeing what else this place has to offer on its regularly changing menu, and mostly just happy to see that they are doing justice to one of my favorite spots in Albany.