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January 4, 2010

Monday Morning Quarterbacking: Tapas Adela



Yesterday I reviewed the new Tapas Adela in Fells Point. This is the fourth in the Kali's Restaurant Group.

Is it my imagination, or is there a new philosophy on how local places should expand? ...


When the Gjerde brothers, the Country Fair Group and Donna's expanded, they opened in various parts of the city and suburbs.

But Kali's and the Charleston Group seem to feel that it's more efficient to group their restaurants in one place. (I know Petit Louis is the exception.)

Just a thought.

At least one person posted here she hadn't been able to get into Sam's Kid after my very positive review, and so she went across Broadway to Adela and had a good meal there. If anyone else has anything to say about eating at the new tapas restaurant, my review or how the new year is so far, please post below.

(Barbara Haddock Taylor/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 10:35 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Monday Morning Quarterbacking


Some friends and I tried Tapas Adela over the weekend. I was surprised how relatively empty it was for a Saturday night.

As your review says, the restaurant is beautiful - marble communal table, bold wallpaper. I went in with low expectations because I was spoiled with excellent tapas when I lived in Chicago. While I wouldn't call Adela 100% authentic, I would say it is the closest to be found in Baltimore.

I also agree with your review that the plato de comenzar was weak for the price - wouldn't do it again. The red sangria was very good, if a tad sweet. The green olive tapenade was a hit at our table, as was the free bread they provide. Other favorites were the patatas bravas, artichokes with sundried tomatoes, camarones de ajo, and meatballs. To finish it off, I had a shot of the hot sipping chocolate which was sooo delicious on a cold night.

On the other hand, our waitress didn't muster a smile the whole time, and I was disappointed my favorite patatas alioli are not offered at Adela. We didn't feel like the prices were that bad - for a group of four of us including drinks the bill was $117. We will definitely be back, and next time I want to sit at that gorgeous marble table :)

Whole sucking pig? That could be a good place for a D@L meetup. We're all about the pig, right?

Lissa, I would have to pass on whole pig. See my rule about not eating anything that looks back at me.

Expanding locally is very smart in the restaurant business. Scunny at Nacho Mama's & the 1/2 shell is a great example. He is able to keep his eye on all of his headaches just a few doors away. And in this business if you are able to execute one good concept, your most likely able to do a second ! But I think this is a great trend for Baltimore restaurants and Cindy Wolf - Scunny and others are paving the way. I also hear that Sean & Rob at Catonsville Gourmet are looking to do a woodfire - tapas place very close to there current location.

Thanks for the tip! EL

Hi, LEC! No, I missed that. I probably would have cooked that ham since it was faceless.

I thought the ham bore an uncanny resemblance to ET. I guess he didn't make it home after all.

That's interesting about grouping restaurants in close proximity so the owners can keep a proper eye on them. I have seen Eddie Dopkin walk the Cold Spring Lane circuit from Miss Shirley's to Sgetti Eddie's and Alonso's, and I am told Mr. Karzai regularly walks from the Helmand up to Tapas Teatro and way up the hill to b bistro. I often see him in his restaurants, and I think it is so important for both the employees and the customers to see a restaurant's owner on the premises. That's part of what makes these restaurant groups so successful.

I also had heard that Chef Kevin Miller, late of Ixia, was cooking at Adela. Could that be true, EL, and if it is, why would the owners not shout it from the rooftops?

Good Eating..

Unfortunately "No" Kevin is not cooking at Adela allthough we would be happy to have him. I believe he was spotted their with a martini in his hand not a whisk.....

I can say firsthand that it is a major convenience to own two restaurants close to each other (besides being able to keep an eye on everything). Here are some examples:

- Easy to replace food products, linens, liquor, etc..., if one place is running low.

- If you need an emergency employee to cover a shift you know where to look.

- If the dining room is full you have another place to recommend to guests that don't want to wait, and you will still draw revenue from them.

- Someone calls looking to have a party but the private room is booked that night, you can recommend the other place.

- If you run out of storage space at one place you can use the other's extra space.

- Regulars at one place will generally become regulars at both, which might not happen if they are far from each other.

I'm sure there are plenty more but it's late and I'm having trouble seeing straight.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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