Quiet alley and garbage trucks, I am intrigued. Nondescript door, albeit nice font, and a dark entrance, I like this change of pace. Welcome to Ada St. restaurant.
The word speakeasy has been used to describe Ada St. and it’s an apt description with its out-of-the way location and seemingly hidden entrance. However, judging by its popularity it has not been able to remain underground by any means. Case in point, my first trip there was three weeks ago and I managed to wait one more week to go back. I stepped into a nice greeting from the manager Raymond and he led me down a dark hallway. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to see on the other side…
It opened up to what looks like a converted garage/factory space complete with a glass garage door and bright green lawn. Think industrial exposed wood, brick and glass but still welcoming and warm.
Wait, what is that I see…? Ping-pong? Yes, that’s right, a ping-pong table just in time for the summer. I can’t wait.
Menu in hand it was time to take a look at the bar bites and cocktails everyone has been talking about. We ordered 7 plates and while I liked them all but the standout was the Octopus followed by the Truffle Asparagus with Egg.
Polenta Fries served with chipotle puree. Easy to share and the spicy puree was a treat.
One of my favorites of the night was the truffle asparagus with a soft-boiled egg. Who doesn’t like anything truffle-related? Egg was cooked perfectly as well as the asparagus. Green onions added a little zing as well. This I will get again and order for just me, myself and I.
My favorite dish of the night was the octopus with cannellini beans and tabasco mash. I already forgot how the waitress said this was prepared because I was distracted by the taste and the texture but this is the best octopus I have had in a long time. It was simultaneously charred on the outside and tender to the bite. I want to say it was seared and baked but that’s beside the point, just get it.
Dessert: Chocolate, Tuscan oil, sea salt, toasted ciabatta. This was another crowd pleaser. Don’t be shy about asking for more bread. The savory of the olive oil and sea salt are a perfect balance to the richness of the chocolate. The picture I took doesn’t do it justice so I pulled a picture from the Ada Street Facebook page.
It is worth mentioning that this is a small-plate restaurant so if you are used to Cheesecake Factory portions you will want to eat a snack beforehand. But really there is no need to stuff yourself when you have so many good cocktails to enjoy. With a bar menu conceived by Tim Lacey (the Drawing Room, Spring, Custom House, Green Zebra, and Trio) you know the drinks will be imaginative with a serious side but fun. Although Lacey is no longer there the drinks are very solid.
I overheard someone say, “Gin is the new vodka.” Made me laugh but you know what, I think it might be true. Enter, All This Useless Beauty: Martin Miller’s Gin, Seedling apple cider, lemon, burlesque bitters. This drink goes down very easily and although I could not really taste the alcohol it packed a punch. If I had to pick a drink for the rest of the summer this would be it.
Last but not least, Spin the Black Circle: Altos Blanco tequila, Ramazzotti Amaro, agave, fresh lime. Refreshing margarita that will make you fill like you are on vacation. If cocktails aren’t your thing there is a pretty extensive beer and wine list available as well.
I don’t know why you would need any more reasons to go to Ada St. but here are a couple more: their backyard opens today and they have a serious vinyl collection.