Altius was a combination of fine dining and spectacular views. Located next to the top spot for the Mt. Washington Incline, the 2-story restaurant makes the most of its views with windows on three sides and 2 levels on each floor, so everybody can look around. The comfy seats have adequate-sized tables on carpet with only faint music in the background. Most of the lighting was from the windows and that would have been an issue if we hadn’t been lucky to be located under one of the ceiling spots. Some tables got quite dark as we watched the sun go down and the city’s lights go on. Bridges, stadiums and buildings are all within view as was the Duquesne Indian station and its car. A more casual crowd seemed to be celebrating special occasions among us regular diners. Service was good as was the food but the view was exceptional.
While we looked over the menu the server brought out a cone of barbecued popcorn. It was crisp, fresh and tasty. It was a fun snack but left your fingers with mess.
The amuse bouche was a shot of porcini espresso capacino. It was well-flavored and really good.
Chilled oysters came with bloody mary mignonette, horseradish, cocktail sauce and lemon wedge. The oysters came 5 to an order but the server said we could add as many as we wanted so we got a dozen. Odd thing is they were $15 for 5 so I assumed the additional ones would be $3 each or even less. Wrong. The next 5 were $15 but the 2 odd ones were $3.75 each. She had no idea how they were priced and was even curious about how I got the $3 each idea. I encouraged her to tell people to order them in quantities of 5. Nevertheless, the Prince Edward Island oysters were good. They brought two set-ups and the cocktail sauce was quite good – didn’t even need more horseradish. I didn’t care for the mignonette but the oysters were great.
The bread service was slices of French baguette with Calabrian chile butter and sundried tomato pesto. The pesto was very tasty and didn’t have any of the toughness you can get with sundried tomato skins. The housemade bread was soft without a crisp crust but a good vehicle to get that pesto to your mouth.
Heritage Breed Tomahawk Pork Chop was served with fennel & orange mostarda, Marcona almonds, asparagus, bacon marmalade, onion straws, truffled gouda potato puree and maitre d’hotel butter. The purple potatoes were very smokey but such a weird color I had to almost close my eyes to eat them. The pork chop was cooked a nice medium rare with tasty meat that benefitted from the butter topping. In fact, I liked the mostarda but think it would have been better with just one topping, the butter. The asparagus was good yet unremarkable. It was a huge plate of food.
The Gianduja Mousse came with milk chocolate custard, milk chocolate hazelnut mousse, crispy rocher, hazelnut dacquoise and vanilla ganache. There were lots of nuts that added nice texture but overall the flavor was quite mild. It all blended well but I wanted to like it more than I did.