|Pork belly heaven at Adam's Northwest Bistro and Brewery - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
Adam Hoffman, former chef de cuisine at Rover's in Seattle, set his sights eastward to recently open his own delicious slice of heaven. After working many years at well-respected Seattle restaurants, Hoffman chose the quiet, small-town feel of Monroe's rustic downtown area, home to old brick buildings and many quaint antique shops. I had the pleasure of having a celebratory dinner at Adam's when family was visiting, getting a chance to sample a little of everything, since that's the best thing when you dine out with a group -- sneaking sample bites!
The food is Northwest bistro-style, which is to say, fresh food, locally sourced, and as unfussy as it is flavorful. The portions are hearty, no modern platters with a bite-sized haute cuisine nibble dressed in squeeze bottle finery. They were trying out a new appetizer when I was there, a savory-sweet pork belly served over greens and a sauce made with cherries. I think this was one of my favorites -- really bold flavor and the pork was butter-soft. I ordered the braised lamb shank over root vegetables, which was a cold weather comfort, having the same fall-off-the-bone tenderness of the pork. My dining companions -- Mr. Wasabi and my family -- ordered the salmon with fennel, stuffed pork chop, and the seafood-fest cioppino. Everyone was really pleased with their dishes, which were cooked perfectly and seasoned with that Pacific Northwest style of fresh, strongly-flavored herbs with equally strong-flavored meats and seafood. I don't really know if that's an official way of describing the local cuisine, but my favorite places that focus on local cooking styles seem to infuse that woodsy, autumnal earthiness into the dishes.
|So many choices, I think I need a second or third stomach - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
They brew their own beer, which goes well with their comfortable dishes. When we visited, their beer menu was still in progress, with a few brews available and more to come. I had one of their darker porter style beers, which was smooth with a bite of cocoa-coffee bitterness. I think their beers will be something that only gets better as they progress, and I look forward to continued tastings. But I also want to try their cocktails -- they took advantage of the antique shops around Monroe and make their drinks in vintage mixers. I know this doesn't change the drink any, I'm just a sucker for good packaging.
|Apple cobbler done right - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
Don't kid yourself, there is always room for dessert! The caramel sauce that's used on several of their dessert items is especially rich and savory, versus toothache-sweet. You can really appreciate the buttery, toasted sugar flavor that develops when caramel is made just perfectly. I have to say the apple cobbler was probably my favorite, but the wedge of cheesecake was a close second. The creme brulee and chunky nut tart were both good, but I think the cobbler would be the item I'd order again, just for the combination of hot and cold with creamy, crumbly and soft fruit textures. And it's not that it's unusual -- apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream is about as common as it gets, but they really let the ingredients sing through the sweetness and you taste everything in it, versus being overwhelmed by sugar.
I'm so glad to have Adam's Northwest Bistro and Brewery close to home. It's a place that I look forward to eating my way through its menu and seeing what new things show up as the seasons change.
|Looking forward to many future visits - Photos by Wasabi Prime|