Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Southern Science - Adsum Opening Weekend in Pictures

Adsum, the new gastropub that opened in the old Coquette on 5th and Bainbridge, has been getting quite a bit of good press lately for its sous vide Southern-fried chicken.  We were on-hand opening weekend and saw several plates of the dark-brown fried chicken bits leaving the kitchen and they looked as good as they sound.

The space itself is very similar to the old Coquette, with much of the old, dark wood finish and wall-length mirrors preserved. We avoided the crowded dining room and grabbed  a table alongside the bar to order a few appetizers.

First up on the must-try list for us was the Grilled Octopus with black pepper caramel glaze - basically BBQ Octopus as the sweetness of the caramel and the peppery-ness of the the glaze gave the impression of a BBQ lacquer. On octopus though? Excellent...if the octopus had not been cooked properly this could have been a different story.

The chicharrones, on the other hand, were a complete miss.  The irregular sized nuggets of fried pork skin & fat were still a bit soggy and served at room temperature. Some were cooked thoroughly enough but many were still not fully rendered out. A quick glance at the menu and you could see the pork belly that I suspect these little bits of fried skin were attached to at one point - can't knock the kitchen fr being frugal, but I've had way better chicharrones...the best being those we had on a recent trip to Chicago at the Publican - Spicy Pork Rinds...shown here in all their glory.

[ UPDATE - We recently returned and noticed the chicharrones were gone from the menu..I wonder if other people had a similar experience with them ]

Damn the arteries and full steam ahead...

Next up on the must-try list was the Tater-Tots, Whiskey, Bacon & Green Goddess dish.  The potatoes used to make these monster tots were of a great quality, sweet and flaky. The bacon wasn't in evidence but it wasn't missed, while the Green Goddess sauce was a wonderfully trashy take on Ranch dressing that I recall people dressing their baked potatoes with when I lived south of the Mason-Dixon line.  Despite the resemblance to Patatas Bravas ala Dixie, the dish was very comforting and disappeared beneath a flurry of forks.

Here's a snapshot of the 'Whiskey' component - tiny gelatinized pearls of whiskey...a nod to the molecular gastronomy vibe that seemed to be featured here.  The flavor they imparted to the dish was minimal, so don't fear them if you're not a fan of whiskey. Did I mention that they bring out the wine in science lab beakers to ensure a measured amount? That, along with the vintage apothecary feel that the decor evoked made me wonder if a foam wasn't lurking somewhere in our future.

We finished with yet another spin on the southern classic of pickled watermelon rind, although this featured the flesh of the watermelon 'pickled' in Kool-Aid. Garnished with a sprig of tarragon, I thought it was a great dish, tart and sweet, the perfect summer dessert.

It's refreshing to see some great Southern renditions redone with some obvious thought as to how to amp up the flavor - next time we visit I hope to make it down to the entree section and those KFC Sweetbreads.


We went back about a week ago and made it into the large plates...here's the highlights -

Fried oysters were deliciously crispy but lacked the creamy insides...maybe a plumper oyster would've yielded up more liquor. They definitely have nailed the crunchy/crispy coating though.

"That's right bad biscuit...you sit in the corner and think about what you've done!"

The much-talked about fried-chicken was also crispy & delicious...

...but the biscuit was TRAGIC. Granted, Elizabeth hails from a long line of Southern cooks who know their biscuits, so she may be a little biased, but even a suburban-raised Yankee like me can tell that something way off. The consistency was like something from a tube in the grocery store...cakey, dry and hard...lacking the requisite pillow, flaky softness that you would expect to accompany chicken & collards.

The lamb dish was very tasty, rich with spicy lamb sausage cause drizzled over perfectly cooked slices of lamb loin. I loved the green chickpeas - half spring pea, half chickpea.Thumbs up on this dish.

1 comment:

  1. That biscuit does look tragic, but the reprimand certainly had me laughing.