Restaurant Week Reviews Part 3: Dinner at Adä
The atmosphere at Adä is muted and elegant, with buff colored marble floors, brass accessories, and tasteful Indian-inspired artwork. Apparently an Indian-French fusion, Adä’s fare is organic and includes ingredients not usual to Indian traditional cuisine, (creme brulee, mesclun greens and goat cheese appear on the menu). The restaurant was just beginning its dinner hour, and, among the first to arrive, we were seated in the windowed foyer area. The wait staff was attentive and brought menus and drinks quickly.
The prix fixe selection was fairly wide, with four or five options for each course. I selected the Aloo-Tikki, which is a pan-seared potato pancake which came with carmelized bananas, a small mound of peas, and some chutney. It was crispy and mildly spiced, and the sweet bananas with the fresh-flavored coriander chutney were an excellent combination.
My entree, three rings of winter squash served with a potato stuffing and an abundance of korma sauce, was quite good– savory and again mildly spiced. The entrees were served with rice, and we also ordered naan (garlic for me, rosemary for ETL, both delicious). The sweet squash contrasted again with the spiced korma very well, and though squash is atypical in my Indian experience, the dish was not so different from standard fare– delicious but not particularly memorable, (as evidenced perhaps by my inability to recall the name of the dish).
Dessert was perhaps the most interesting course for ETL and I; I ordered kheer, an Indian rice pudding with pistachios and diced fresh fruit. It was good, nutty and not overpoweringly sweet, with chewy rice and soft and creamy pistachios.
ETL’s dessert, New York Style Cheesecake (refreshingly Indian, no?) was the star here– It arrived nicely plated, a small muffin-sized cheesecake with a dollop of mascarpone, a sprig of mint, and a scattering of the same diced fresh fruit that appeared in my kheer. We tasted it. We tasted it again. A third time. What was going on here? The complete and utter absence of all flavor.
I have never experienced anything like it. The cheesecake arrived in the mouth, the mouth reported the presence of a substance by dint of pressure and weight on the tongue. The tongue however, responded not in the least. Somehow, by some magical means, the cream cheese, heavy cream, vanilla essence, and eggs, which surely appeared in this confection, were robbed of all taste. I theorize that that some cheesecakes are so amazingly tasty, so overwhelmingly delicious, that the apparent excess of flavor is actually obtained by vampirically draining other cheesecakes of taste.
Eventually, ETL discovered that by combining the a bite of this anti-cheesecake with some of the diced fruit, the creaminess of the cheesecake and the sweet fruit flavors combined in a pleasant way, though I feel the amount of fruit provided should have been increased.
Overall, I would say Adä rates a 3.5 of 5, for general tastiness of the entrees, the attentive staff and lovely decor. I don’t think the menu is particularly imaginative (at least, from a Vegetarian’s limited perspective), and the desserts certainly leave something to be desired– but overall this is a good restaurant that I’d revisit for the lunch-time specials.
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