Looking For Something New And Hip?
Get To Adega, Restaurant & Wine Bar
Reprinted from SoCo™ Magazine, July 2006
“From Saloons to Salons”
I’m going to write this review in the reverse order of events as they occurred. The reason being, under normal circumstances, I thought the chef/owner would have greeted me and my guest walking into his very cool establishment, instead of chasing us out the door and into the street at Goulart Square, located at The New Bedford Seaport.
Let me explain. We had finished our meals – along with a rich, frothy chocolate mousse (shared), accompanied by slices of strawberry and pineapple, served in a champagne glass; and a very authentic espresso that was hot, thick, and strong (outstanding and recommended) – when we settled up with our waiter, Carlos, and planned our photo shoot outside under the street lights, which reflected off the newly remolded building’s façade.
Upon exiting and setting up across the street, a man with a slight build and light hair, wearing all black, including his apron, came running out shouting: “Don’t go anywhere!” My companion and I looked at each other with glances of amazement drizzled with slight annoyance; we wanted to get the task over with so we could go home. It was already 10:00 p.m., and we still had to drive at least 30 minutes to our home in a neighboring town.
“Please, I want to talk to you,” he said, beginning to lose his breath. We cautiously met him in the middle of the road. “My name is Tony Fialho. I own Adega, and I can’t let you leave without thanking you for coming for dinner,” he exclaimed. We both started to smile, and I shook his hand.
This meeting is the most relevant part of this review, and I felt compelled to share it with your first and foremost.
Adega is brand new. It’s very classy, well designed and decorated, and carefully thought out. Its menu is unique, its wine list superb. The bar is well stocked compared to others on the SouthCoast, but best of all, the restaurant is one man’s dream turned reality!
After introducing himself, Tony shared with me his compassion for the restaurant business and his dozen-plus years working for others. “I want people to be comfortable here and to be a part of this. I want to improve my community,” he said with a genuine spark in his eyes.
When you approach the entrance to Adega, you can’t but feel you are in a large city, perhaps just off the main drag in an up-and-coming neighborhood. For instance, while we were speaking, a young Portuguese boy came up on his bicycle and shouted: “Hey, Tony, how’s the restaurant doin’?” Tony responded, “Great, thanks.” Even the fancy cars and the very sexy crowd waiting out front created just the right vibe.
Once inside, we were seated in comfortable chains at a table that seemed a bit higher than one would normally expect. However, after about 20 minutes, the awkward felling dissipated. I ordered a large bottle of Pellegrino, which was served perfectly chilled, and a glass of wine that I believe came from a vineyard called “Pocas: the Director’s Choice.” The busboy brought over a breadboard with a full loaf atop. The bread was room temperature; warm would have been better.
We started with small plates of Favas (large Portuguese beans sautéed with port and mild Portuguese sausage, served in a bread bowl) and Chourico a Adega (a spicy Portuguese sausage flambé). Don’t be fooled, these were not small plates. They were huge, so much so that by the time dinner arrived, we knew that most of it would be wrapped up for lunch tomorrow.
The very nature of Adega’s menu is decadent. It is full of tempting foods sure to add to anyone’s waistline. We opted for a couple of low-calorie choices. My guest ordered the Bifinhos de Galinha Grehados (charbroiled chicken breast in a special aromatic butter sauce), and I decided upon the Galinha a Moçambique (sauteed cubes of chicken breast in a Mozambique sauce, served with fried potatoes and rice). This is one of the most popular meals in Portuguese restaurants on the SouthCoast, but what made this one different was that the rice and raisins mixed in – a very nice flavor. But one thing I didn’t care for was the sauce had a shrimp taste, which overpowered the flavor of the chicken. I’m not sure why this occurred, but I believe the sauce should have had a more neutral taste. This should not prevent you from trying the restaurant’s varied selections, all of which are very reasonably priced.
As for service, I happen to know that some customers have been critical of it, but let me assure you, the Adega staff is up to par and in sync. I paid very close attention to the wait staff, and their efforts in running around the dining room affirmed the fact that changes have been made for the better.
It’s clear that Tony caught the wave but is humble of his newly earned success. He shared with me the story of a recent night: there was a two-plus-hour wait and some slipped the maitre d’ $40 for a choice table. “I could allow this, it happens all the time in other places, but here, these people are my friends – if not before they come in, they are by the time they leave. I fired the guy,” he said an ear-to-ear smile. “Everyone is treated the same here.”
From the scantily clad women at the bar to the grandmothers and grandfathers with families at the banquet-size tables, Adega is the place to be on the SouthCoast.
Adega is located at Goulart Square at The New Bedford Seaport.
For directions, call 508-992-1313. The kitchen is open Sundays, Mondays
Wednesdays, and Thursdays from noon to 9:00 p.m., Saturday from noon to
10:00 p.m.; Adega is closed on Tuesdays.