Ada St’s Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire
Vida Mezcal, Dolin Dry, chile agave, egg white, lime
Back in November I took my 3rd business trip of the year to Chicago. Hey, I’m not complaining. If you’ve been hanging around here for a while, then you know that one of my best college girlfriends lives there, so I like to visit as often as I can.
Never fails that I have at least one, if not many, incredible meals while I’m in town, and this time was no different.
Ada St., a hidden gem on (you guessed it) Ada St., was definitely my best Chicago discovery of 2012.
From the moment I walked in the door, I felt like I’d been let in on a secret. Actually, scratch that. Before I even walked through the door I felt that way.
Why? Well, let’s just say the neighborhood isn’t exactly bustling or picturesque. The restaurant is in the middle of what seems to be an industrial area, full of warehouses and not much else. But once you step into the entryway, you’re transported to a completely different world. A lovely, mysterious, candlelit world.
Polenta Fries with chipotle puree
So yes, the atmosphere pretty much wowed me from the get-go. But the real test would be the cocktail list. Mama likes a good cocktail and thankfully Ada St. delivers!
In addition to the “Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire” drink you see above, I also had a “Fistful of Dollars”- Old Heaven Hill B.I.B. Bourbon, Luxardo Amaro, mole bitters, mezcal mist, orange flower water. A very good cocktail indeed.
lamb ribs, agave glaze, mild habanero cream, pickled peppers, cilantro
Okay, so on to the food! As you can see from the photos, we ate a lot. This is exactly the dining style that I enjoy the most – going to a restaurant with a big group and ordering dozens of small plates so I can try almost everything on the menu.
duck confit, cavatelli, poached egg, spinach, parmigiano
octopus, cannellini beans, tabasco mash
Lamb flatbread with caramelized onions, feta, cracked olives, parsley, lemon
In addition to those featured here, we also had crispy black eyed peas, steak tartare with fried capers and quail egg, prime strip loin with aged balsamic and brown butter, seared salmon with crispy risotto croquette and brussels sprouts.
And even though we were completely stuffed after all of those savory dishes, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to leave without ordering dessert! First up were the brioche donuts. Pretty much everyone at the table went nuts for them, but you know me – I don’t love donuts. They were fine, but what I was more interested in was a dessert called “Chocolate”.
Oh my. Oh my. A simple name for a simple dish of chocolate spread with tuscan olive oil, sea salt and toast. Yet it wasn’t simple at all. It was mind-blowingly delicious.
Oh my. (Did I say that already?)
And because I lost my mind after having one bite of this divine creation, I don’t have a photo, so you simply MUST pop over to Serious Eats to take a gander. They named this Chocolate one of the Top 10 Chicago Sweets of 2012!
Me & Lib – happy girls at Ada St., Chicago
Serious Eats isn’t the only one that has taken notice of Ada St. Daily Candy, and Chicago Magazine have them on their “Best of” lists, and Thrillist named it one of the 10 Best Things to Open Since Last Year.
And one last tidbit about my visit — Making the entire experience even cooler, I got to meet Chef Zoë Schor. Within 2 minutes of meeting her, I discovered that she is very good friends with Tony and Caroline Galzin, who recently moved to Nashville from Chicago. Tony is the incredibly talented pastry chef at Flyte, and he and Caroline are also hosting pop up dinners here called Sycamore (more to come on that very soon). Small world, eh?
Ada St. Restaurant
1664 North Ada Street
Chicago, IL 60642