Just opened: Ada's Wine Bar
WHAT: Ada’s Wine Bar
IT’S: A new intimate concept for wine and tapas by Chef James Trees.
OPENED: March 6, 2021
WHO’S BEHIND IT: Chef and founder James Trees, Chef de Cuisine Jackson Stamper and sommeliers Norman Acosta, Chloe Helfand, Jodie Hellman, Sarah Pamatat and Kat Thomas.
FUN FACT: James Trees worked behind the scenes with Gordon Ramsay on “Kitchen Nightmares” and “Hell’s Kitchen.”
LOCATION: 410 South Rampart Boulevard (Tivoli Village)
HOURS: Wednesday to Sunday | 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
WEBSITE: Great wine at great prices.
INSTAGRAM: Colorful cuisine that looks as good as it tastes.
Why We Love It
Ada’s was formerly a pizzeria and ice cream parlor, but after closing during the pandemic, proprietor James Trees transformed the space into an all-new concept. It’s now a wine bar, serving small plates with a Spanish and Mediterranean influence.
Prices are affordable, but the food and wine are both top-notch, led by an exceptional, experienced service team in an environment that manages to be both cozy and stylish. Everyone on the floor is a trained sommelier who knows the job isn’t just about wine knowledge, but also being able to engage customers as much (or as little) as needed to craft a customized experience.
Five Things You Gotta Try
The charcuterie and cheese plates have a heavy emphasis on Spanish selections. A great example is the Secret de Compostelle — a tangy, but complex cheese made of raw sheep’s milk from the Basque region. Feel free to switch things up and enjoy a cheese plate at the end of your meal, almost like dessert.
The croquetas are a balanced mix of soft and crunchy textures. Iberico chorizo and aged manchego are combined into a bechamel for a creamy center, surrounded by a crispy double-breaded shell.
The Gambas al Ajillo take inspiration from Barcelona. Think of the dish as an elevated Shrimp Scampi. The key is the stock, made using the entire shrimp to produce a deep, rich flavor with roasted garlic and chili peppers.
The octopus is based on a classic Basque recipe. A charred, braised tentacle is served with crispy potatoes, house-made garlic aioli and a salsa brava of tomatoes and peppers.
The Argentinian-influenced skirt steak is the most expensive dish on the menu, but still just $24. It’s marinated for at least a day in house-made chimichurri and grilled to order with salt and chili oil. It’s served sliced (making it easy to share) with peppers and a spicy jam.
Great. What about The drinks?
On any given day, Ada’s has nearly 100 wines by the bottle and more than 20 by the glass. The list is expected to constantly evolve, based on input and suggestions by the sommeliers on staff. Expect unconventional, uncommon selections, but with a variety of flavor profiles to suit the palate of any customer.
A Little More About The Atmosphere
Despite the quality of the menu, Ada’s isn’t pretentious or stuffy. The space makes the most of its minimalist decor with tall window arches, overloaded shelves and chalkboard art. Grab a seat at the bar (with a rustic wood counter), a table or long community-style hightop. Patio seating is available when the weather is appropriate.
Wine glasses are $9 to $20 while bottles begin at $30. Smaller tapas are $5 to $16. Larger plates are $13 to $24. Not into wine? Craft beer is $9 to $15.
Ada’s Wine Bar succeeds on all levels. The bold flavors of the food effectively complement the wines, adding up to a rewarding experience in both taste and affordability. Stop by for a few bites or put three or four plates together to create a full meal. The bar is more casual than Al Solito Posto (Trees’ full sit-down Italian restaurant around the corner) but still feels like something special, making it an easy, but enticing spot for return visits.
Read: The Daily Snack: Go South of the Border With This Latin American-Inspired Dinner