So, I’ve decided that if “Cheers” existed in real life, I would likely be a cast member. Ideally seated snugly between Norm and Cliff, because those guys are my jam.
What I’m trying to say is that I derive great pleasure from becoming a regular. I like to go where people know my name.
(Case in point: my neighborhood watering hole hired a new bartender 2 weeks ago and I’ve already made sure that he remembers my name by bussing a table for him when he was busy and tipping extra nice. And reminding him of my name no fewer than 4 times per visit. No, I’m not neurotic at all, thank you for asking.)
The bottom line is that I tend to get stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to dining out.
Which is perhaps why I have been geeking out so hard over dinner at a little restaurant I tried out a few weeks ago: Ada Street.
This place has been open for less than a year and is still somewhat obscure (the usual early-20’s sports bar fanatics probably haven’t heard of it), and rightfully so: its location is a bit out of the way (though not far away – it’s right off of North Ave) and it caters to a slightly more adventurous crowd.
Take this cocktail, for example.
Having been seated at the bar (you’ll need a reservation to score a table in the dining room, but honestly, I almost preferred sitting at the bar), I asked the bartender what her favorite cocktails on the menu were. (<— that’s me being adventurous. Fitting right in.)
Anyway, she suggested the Spin the Black Circle – ooh, so dangerous – which she described as a slightly herbal margarita.
Twist my arm. It was amazing. And went down pretty fast.
As for the food, the menu has a farm-to-table slant and is comprised of small plates (which I love). Some highlights:
Duck confit cavatelli with spinach and a poached egg.
Sure, runny eggs are kind of trendy. But for good reason: they are delicious. It’s like nature’s answer to a creamy pasta sauce.
Those are roasted root vegetables back there – always a good choice. And no, those aren’t potatoes. (I think they were turnip? Yum.)
I also tried the salmon spring rolls (with the fish serving as the wrap, not the filling), polenta fries with chipotle puree, and the salmon tartare with bacon two ways (I KNOW), wrapping up the meal with their dessert, appropriately titled, “Chocolate”.
Yeah, that’s basically salted ganache with buttery crostini.
I didn’t hate it.
I mean. LOOK AT THAT.
What I’m telling you is that Ada Street is special. Great service, great atmosphere (intimate but not stuffy at all), and I enjoyed absolutely everything I tried. Not that I’m known to be a picky eater, but c’mon. That’s still pretty impressive.
If you live in Chicago or swing through town, I highly recommend this place. Whatever you do, get a cocktail. And maybe that chocolate. It’s worth it.