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Eater's Journal: Abode Restaurant & Lounge

Here we have Eater's Journal where we muse on recent meals. We go out to eat all the time, we might as well talk about it.

Abode Restaurant & Lounge: Whether you agree that this restaurant misidentifies itself or not, here's what you should know: Abode is chic, but not trendy; comfortable and elegant, but in no way stuffy; the food is fresh, interesting, and very seasonal. We popped in for dinner last week. The lounge was half full, some people sitting along the small bar, a couple eating at a tall table along the banquette, another few chatting over cocktails in lounge chairs. Because most tables were taken in the middle dining room, we sat in the area that can be curtained off for private dining. A little lonely at first, but within an hour, we had plenty of company. Not bad for the first full week of service.

Eco-friendly or not, the design is very chic, but not in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable if you're, um, not. Without much sound absorption, our friend thinks the rooms will get noisy, but it's hard to tell when it's not totally packed. What will be a big hit: The patio. At night, strings of lights cover the area, which is tucked away far from the stree; great for weekend brunch, which just started this past weekend.

Chef Dominique Crenn is someone everyone will pay attention to soon. Both passionate and talented, she's classicly trained but knows how to have fun. The plates are works of art, even if a few veer towards fussy. You know that old adage about getting dressed: Look in the mirror and take one thing off, and then you're ready. A plate of fresh mini beets doesn't really need miniscule cubes of beet gelee with a line of some spice as an accoutrement; it already has a quenelle of goat cheese and two brush strokes of gorgeous beet juice, an understated and eye-catching design for the plate.

We found the simplest dishes the best. From the bar menu, three mini sandwiches, enough for a whole meal: fresh mozzarella and tomato on brioche, spicy sausage on homemade rosemary roll, grilled ham and cheese with a fried quail egg on top. Nice. We will go back for those. Steak and short ribs with mac and cheese supercedes many others we've had. John Dory with purple potatoes and baby artichokes, most likely picked up from the market that day, is fresh and light. The "study of chocolate" dessert is both whimsical and addictive (anyone who can bake a molten chocolate cake in an eggshell gets props from us). All in all, it's a refreshing dining option among the mediocre restaurants along Ocean Avenue. It's like the secret spot where locals can go to escape the hordes heading to the pier.
· A Scathing Critique of Abode's...Sustainability? [~ELA~]
· Abode Revealed: Opens Wednesday April 18 [~ELA~]