Midwest Living Review
We should've realized that trying to drop in for dinner during a Christmas at Luther College weekend was probably not a good idea. But the staff at Albert's didn't turn us away. Though their tables had reservations, as well as some apparent no-shows or at least some fashionably late arrivals, the hostess squeezed us in at the end of the bar while a lighted Christmas parade wound past the building, a National Historic Landmark. That wound up suiting us just fine, because the affable bartender and servers congregated nearby to chat with guests about where they were from and the evening's stunning choral concerts at the college. We started with a minty supper-clubbish Grasshopper, which came served with swirls of chocolate sauce in a martini glass, and moved onto a delicious Iowa-inspired appetizer of beef tenderloin skewers served with Maytag blue cheese (all of the items on the menu are listed with suggested wine pairings as well). For dinner, we tried the house-ground Angus burger ($10 for 8 ounces) and the four-cheese ravioli ($15, a grown-up version of mac n' cheese). The cheesy ravioli wasn't particularly gooey -- we're thinking it stayed in the oven a little too long and dried out -- and the haricots verts served alongside were a little limp. But the appetizer and burger sang with flavor, and the three-layer chocolate cake topped with a chocolate buttercream frosting made us forget our dried-out pasta. Truthfully, we would go back and try other options, including the bone-in Iowa chop ($16), Cornish game hen with cranberry-almond wild rice ($16), crispy Canadian walleye sandwich ($11) and pan-seared salmon ($21). Even if everything doesn't execute perfectly, we loved the service and the setting, with huge windows overlooking Decorah's main drag. Albert's is definitely worth a stop, even if you're not staying at the hotel.