Wednesday, September 27, 2017


When Adega at The 9 reached out to see if I'd be open to coming in to sample the menu from their new chef Nelly Buleje, I did jump at the chance. Mr. H and I had been in for brunch about a year ago, when the past chef was still there, and it didn't leave us wanting to come back. So, I was open to seeing what changes Chef Nelly had brought, and boy I'm glad that I did!

The meal started with Hummus (3 versions available). We were served the Beef Kafta with tomato relish and pickled onion ($13).
Um...WOW. This was probably the best hummus I've ever had and what a way to start the dinner. The flavor of the beef kafta was outstanding, and the hummus was so smooth. It would be a must-order for me again.

Next up was the Charred Octopus with citrus, herbs, artichoke-cucumber escabeche, patatas bravas, and chive coulis ($15).
The bitterness of the char on the octopus and the citrus components were mellowed by the expertly paired wine from Adega's Manager and Resident Sommelier, Michel Emerick.

Our third course was the World's Greatest Jamon ($15). Jamón iberico, arugula, tomato, manchego, and ciabatta.
This gorgeous piece of meat just melts in your mouth, and is quite decadent. We picked some up from Old Brooklyn Cheese Co. this summer as well, but it's hard to come by as it's brought over by ship from Spain. If every cheese and charcuterie plate I'm served had some of this, I'd be a happy girl. 

For the salad course, we had the Lyonnaise ($8) with frisée, baby spinach, arugula, egg, pancetta, ciabatta, Parmesan, and a sherry-mustard vinaigrette.
I cut into that perfectly poached egg, and it just oozed gorgeous yolk.

Next course was another highlight for us, the housemade Italian Bolognese ($26) with Italian sausage, tomato, garlic, basil, oregano, shaved fennel, rigatoni, and Parmesan.
The pasta is made in-house, and the sauce is unlike any other bolognese I've had. Chef Nelly's process takes 72 hours before it's ready to be served. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about fennel in the pasta dish, but the light crunch and subtle additional flavor it added totally worked! I'd like another bowl of this, like right now.

We then tried the Sea Scallops ($32) with a green grape relish, scallions, charred lemon, and couscous salad.
The last savory course of the meal was the Secreto Ibérico ($45). Bellota secreto and roasted carrots; that Jamón was just as luscious as the first preparation. Mr. H also dubbed these carrots as "best carrots he's ever had."
Each course included a wine pairing, featuring wines from Mediterranean climates. Each one truly made flavors from the dishes pop right out, or subtly complimented the food. There wasn't one that we didn't enjoy.
For dessert, we shared a Rosewood Flan...
...and Hazelnut Crème Brûlée.
Chef Nelly has dedicated a lot of time into his research, and the restaurant recreates flavors from the Mediterranean, infused with ingredients from Spain, Italy, Greece and France. They locally source products when they can, but really care about utilizing the best possible quality products out there.

Mr. H and I dine out and attend culinary events a lot, as you well know, and this was one of the more memorable meals we've had in quite some time! We will happily be going back soon on our own. I'm also ready to try some of the new brunch items Chef Nelly was describing. I'm glad that this outing put Adega back on my radar.

Disclosure: I was invited with a guest to attend a media tasting. All food and beverages were complementary. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

2017 E 9th Street
Cleveland, OH 44115