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Published: Friday, 6/20/2003

Restaurant review: Adam's Place ****

Adam's Place shouldn't be hard to find. It's on a main street, just around the corner from one of the area's busiest intersections, and it boasts an impressive record of successes in the annual Rib-Off contests.

Yet “Where is Adam's Place” is a question I'm asked rather frequently.

The restaurant is hidden in a cluster of commercial buildings on the southeast corner of Laskey and Tremainsville roads. And only a single roadside sign in a forest of such signs tells you it's time to turn into the big parking lot.

Oh, but it's worth finding if you like the staples of American diet. The kitchen doesn't search out exotic sauces or experiment with clever new ways of disguising familiar dishes.

In fact I find myself wondering whether the chef has pondered some of the wisdom of the Orient. A Chinese restaurant may offer as many as a hundred entrees, but apart from seasonings many of these choices are sensitive pairings of perhaps 20 basic ingredients.

So for example I count 10 combinations: ribs and filet, ribs and chicken, ribs and perch, ribs and shrimp. Next comes the base ingredient, a petite filet mignon, and it's immediately followed by filet and perch, ribs and shrimp ...you get the idea. It offers a generous selection of entrees - 9 out of 18 - assembled from a handful of basics and cooked with a minimum of techniques.

Lobster was a lucky special during one of my dinners at Adam's. A big, fresh tail all disassembled for me came from the kitchen; it isn't often that I can afford such a splurge. What is of general pertinence, of course, is to check the daily specials, on the tip of your server's tongue and on a chalkboard near the entrance.

One popular appetizer is rib bits followed by a few additions you might expect: chicken wings, chicken livers, even a shrimp cocktail.

Diners with modest appetites may want to focus on “the lighter side,” selections so named with respect to serving size and sensible dietary considerations.

In addition, two soups are made in Adam's kitchen. One is French onion, the other a daily special. That on one recent visit was vegetable-beef-barley, gingerly seasoned, I thought; a shake of salt brought it closer to my taste preferences.

Sandwiches? Yes. My special, a reuben, was made with individual cheese slices, which didn't melt enough to take root, as it were, in the beef and sauerkraut, but slipped and slid until I took fork and knife to it.

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