Addie’s: Pretty, Pretty Good

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” is coming back to television on October 1.  My enthusiasm about this comeback is anything but curbed. In fact, upon hearing the first few bars of the theme song, my whole face lights up at the thought of all the awkward scenarios that Larry David is poised to portray with stunning accuracy.

Comebacks are best when they are rooted in nostalgia, but offer a fresh take on the original concept.  The new Addie’s in Park Potomac represents a culinary comeback. The original Addie’s, established by restaurateur Jeff Black and his wife Barbara was located in a charming converted home on Rockville Pike. The restaurant opened in 1995 and closed in 2013. I thoroughly enjoyed Addie’s for its creative American cuisine presented in an intimate setting.  I dined there on numerous occasions, including its last week in operation. I was relieved to hear Jeff Black say that he had every intention of re-opening Addie’s when he found the right location.

It took nearly four years, but Addie’s is back. Sort of.  The most notable resemblance is the ownership and the restaurant’s name.

The décor and ambiance is hard to compare to the original, which was eclectic and homey. The new Addie’s is more like a raucous party. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just different. The most fun seems to be happening on the outside patio, where a lively bar can be accessed from both outside and inside the restaurant.  The back room has whimsical touches, including a black and white photo of Hank Dietle’s Tavern, which was situated next door to the original Addie’s.

 

There is also a formal dining room, where the tables are covered with white tablecloths, and the centerpiece is an impressive wall displaying bottles of wine.  The room has a view into the bustling, and very spacious kitchen.

On my first visit we are seated in the quiet room, which is excellent for enabling conversation. Admittedly, my extroverted nature has me feeling a little left out of the main event.

The Addie’s menu has a few notable focal points. The seafood tower is a big deal. You choose from a long list of options including clams, lobster tail, tuna tartare, softshell crabs, tempura tuna, and so much more.  A petite tower is $78 for 7 items; grand is $92 for 9 items, and Supreme is $110 for 12 items.  Apologies to one of my dining companions who is anxious to order the tower, and I decline because I don’t want to take time to negotiate the items. Maura Judkis of the Washington Post raves about it in her First Bite review.

Addie’s warm and fluffy rolls were one of the highlights at the Rockville Pike location, and they are back. Served in a paper bag and ceremoniously cut open tableside, they are still a reason to cheer.

Starters at Addie’s are a blend of old and new. Addie’s mussels were a favorite, and they make an expected appearance. I would return in a heartbeat for spicy Vietnamese Caramel Salmon with cucumber salad, cilantro, and toasted cashews.  It brings to mind some of the zippy dishes I recall fondly from Addie’s previous iteration.

A salad of heirloom tomatoes, peaches, feta, basil, black pepper flatbread, and harissa vinaigrette is bound to make a retreat from the menu very soon.  I hope that something equally seasonal and delicious takes its place. This is a winner.

Entrees include three “Dinner for Two” options. Multiple friends have recommended whole roasted Mediterranean bass ($57).  The fish makes a nice presentation, and the accompanying garden beans and cherry tomatoes are nicely done.  The coating of toasted almonds, lemon, and brown butter emulsion is fine, but more seasoning on the fish would make this dish a standout.

Black pepper crusted yellowfin tuna with baby gem lettuce, avocado, sugarsnap peas, sauce tonnato, and pickled radishes is a light and tasty alternative to some of the heavier menu items.

My favorite entree is Chesapeake Fisherman’s Stew a satisfying fusion of softshell crab, mussels, clams, shrimp, grilled corn, cherry tomato broth, and red pepper aioli.

It’s hard to pick a dessert with options like salted caramel banana cream pie trifle, ricotta beignets, and stone fruit cobbler.  We select the trifle, attracted by its accompanying salted caramel cream and roasted banana ice cream. It’s a filling dessert, best for sharing among a few people.

In its heyday, the original Addie’s was the place to experience innovative food in the suburbs.  It had an intimacy that is difficult to replicate, and can’t be done in a sprawling restaurant.  Still it’s a smart move to launch Addie’s as a revival, and capture its built-in audience.  If you were a fan of the original, don’t expect the same cast of characters. What Addie’s Park Potomac offers is impressive seafood towers, a solid mix of comfort food and dishes with flair, and a handsome gathering place with a variety of seating options to suit your mood. And still, that’s pretty, pretty, good.

Addies, 12435 Park Potomac Avenue, Potomac, MD

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