On Friday night, Matthew and I got a delicious, expansive tour from Executive Chef Nelly Buleje of Adega‘s new menu. Adega is still focused on modern Mediterranean cuisine, but the new menu offers more options, amazing flavors, and a renewed focus on authenticity.
We got to enjoy nine exquisite courses, each expertly paired with wines selected by Adega’s resident sommelier, Michel Emerick. One of the best things about Adega’s wine selection is that it offers a wide variety, including many wines that are often not available by the glass, such as a Beaujolais and a Chateau Neuf de Pape.
Before you read about all the deliciousness, everything we got to taste is available on Adega’s dinner menu, so find your favorites and create your own perfect dining experience!
Our first course was hands-down the tastiest hummus I’ve ever had, topped with tabouli, citrus, and mint and served with housemade pita.
This dish was so well executed that it took a dish we’re so familiar with and elevated it to new heights.
Next up were the mussels with chorizo, fennel, garlic, shallot, absinthe, and cinnamon. From the moment the dish was brought to the table, the aromatic broth had us salivating.
All the flavors of the broth came together perfectly to make a drinkable, dunkable, delicious dish.
Then it was time for some jamon iberico, which our server Jay referred to as prosciutto on crack. This melt-in-your-mouth Spanish cured meat was incredible. It came served with tomato, manchego, and ciabatta. Chef Nelly suggested taking a bite of meat with the manchego; a bite with the tomato, manchego, and ciabatta; and a bite of just the jamon.
Each nibble was distinctly delicious!
We got to try a mini version of Adega’s flatbread, made with housemade dough and finished in their brick oven.
The beef kafta flatbread came with beef sausage, piquillo pepper, manchego, fennel, and arugula dressed with an incredible basil vinaigrette.
Next up, salad: the Lyonnaise with frisee, baby spinach, arugula, egg, pancetta, ciabatta croutons, parmesan, and a sherry-mustard vinaigrette.
All things should come with a poached egg!
The Italian bolgnese was our next course, a light cream bolognese with Italian sausage that is cooked on the stovetop for 6 hours and then sits in the Adega refrigerators for 72 hours to let the flavors to fully come together.
This time-intensive process is 100% worth it: the delicious, comforting sauce clings to the pasta made in house and is just incredible. Similar to the hummus, the execution on this bolognese is what elevates a dish you can find on many menus to something truly extraordinary.
Next, we enjoyed the Atlantic sea bass, with tarragon, shallot, citrus, polenta, and mint coulis.
The fish is served skin-on and the polenta is so creamy! Just an incredible dish!
Then we got to enjoy some more jamon, in the form of secreto iberico, which is from a different part of the same animal as the jamon iberico.
The meat is high in Omega 3 fatty acids due to the pig’s diet of exclusively acorns in its final months of life (the pig will literally double in size!) Due to this, the meat just melts in your mouth. It was tender and rich and delicious!
Our final savory course was the branzino, served as the whole fish, flash-fried, with orange, mint, star anise, pomegranate glaze, tomato relish, and couscous salad.
I love me a whole fish, which is always so moist. The tomato relish was incredible and the couscous salad, which was a bit sweet, was a nice compliment.
Finally, dessert: we were presented with rosewater flan and cheesecake. And while at this point in our meal, I would have eaten anything Chef Nelly told me to eat, I was a bit apprehensive. Flan and cheesecake would not be my usual choices for dessert.
The pistachio crumble on top the delicately-flavored flan was my favorite part of that dessert. And the cheesecake, made with Greek yogurt, was light and fluffy and truly a treat!
I can’t adequately express how the food, the wine, and the service were all at the highest level. Adega pushed some of my culinary boundaries, but it was worth every bite. This is the kind of high quality, inventive, and unique cuisine that Cleveland should embrace whole-heartedly! Treat yourself to Adega today!
***Disclosure: I was invited to enjoy a tasting dinner at Adega with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***