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We had dinner at Addie's last night, and while it's still cute and one of the few non-chain, non-ethnic restaurants in Montgomery County, it has slipped, and slipped a lot, since were there last year. Addie's is a sentimental destination for us; we ate there the night before our daughter was born and as a parent it's hard to forget your last carefree, kid-free meal, before high chairs or babysitters become part of your life. There is an informal, cozy feel to the reataurant (located in a converted house), which is charming when the cooking rises to the level of the prices they are charging (apps $8-13, entrees $21-28), and the service is warm and polished as it has been in the past. When the food is pedestrian and the service unpolished, as it was last night, you are left to puzzle over what exactly was worth $80 a person. Addie's strength has been its appetizers, so it was shocking to look over the menu and not see a single appetizer or salad that appealed to me. I ended up ordering the field greens with Maytag Blue, walnuts, pears, and a slightly-too-sweet champagne vinaigrette. It was competently executed but almost every restaurant nowadays has this same salad on their menu. The soup was black bean with creme fraiche, which sounded perfect for lunch entree but too heavy for a dinner app. One of our friends had the mussels with tomato, shallots, and garlic. The mussels were very high quality, as I would expect from a Black restaurant but were overwhelmed by the amount of garlic in the sauce. Scott had a special, duck confit salad, which must have been good since he cleaned his plate. My entree was the "Black Pearl" salmon with Spanish chorizo rice, grilled rapini, apricot chutney, and Romesco sauce. The salmon was by far the best thing about the dish, lovely fresh and sweet and served medium. It went downhill from there. The rice tasted like it had been made hours before; it was dry and the slices of chorizo had been cooked until devoid of all juiciness and cut too small to impart much spice. The "grilled" rapini had never seen the grill, it was merely cooked until not quite done so that it was bitter and tough. The apricot chutney, of julienned dried apricot, pieces of kalamata (or a similar tasting) olive, and sliced toasted almonds, sounded intriguing and was what made me pick that particular entree, so it was disappointing that it never came together. It might have been better if the individual elements had been cut smaller and allowed to mingle maybe with some olive oil. As it was, one bite was sweet with just apricot, another salty with olive, but it was hard to get a bite that combined the flavors. The Romesco sauce combined better with the fish. I didn't taste anyone else's entree so can't comment on those. We drank a Malbec that was pleasant, fruit forward, not too heavy, and served much too warm. It worked with the fish but it would have been improved by a few minutes of chilling. The dessert menu offered cinnamon-chocolate ice cream, raspberry sorbet, apple crisp, some kind of chocolate mousse thing, and a carrot cake with creme anglais and caramel sauce. We opted for the carrot cake and it was tasty and suprisingly light, but needed more spice (cardamom would have been lovely in it), a little more frosting and a brighter sauce, maybe with lemon, to set off the richness. Little things would have improved the service. Letting us open the wine list before asking for our drink order. Replacing silver that had been taken away. Asking if we were done before clearing appetizers. Reciting the specials slowly, so that we could understand and not have to ask her repeat things. Bringing forks with our desserts. Asking "Are you finished?" rather than "Are you still working on that?" We had a pleasant evening with good friends that we hadn't seen in a long time, but expected more from Addie's. Not sure if we would go back.
Todd Kliman is reporting that Baltimore deli legend Attman's has signed a lease to open in the old Celebrity Delly space in the Cabin John shopping center. Holy cow, please let this be true...