Planter’s Punch – Over-proofed Rum, Crushed Pineapple, Orange
Arancini – Summer Corn, Truffle, Chili
Cauliflower – Anchovy, Chili, Garlic
The Market Salad – Peaches, Hazelnuts, Ricotta, Mustards
Beets – Ricotta Gnudi, Basil, Sorrel, Golden Balsamic
Mussels – ‘Nduja, Lemon, Parsley, Toasted Housemade Bread
Baccala Pizza – Salt Cod, Saffron Potatoes, Spicy Tomatoes, Capers
Burrata Pizza – Cherry Tomato, Smoked Ricotta Cheese, Basil, Pecorino
Gemmelli Pasta – Pistachio Pesto, Lemon Zest, Pecorino Cheese
Bianco Pizza – Boschetto al Tartufo Cheese, White Asparagus, Cauliflower, Enoki Mushrooms
‘Nduja Pizza – Scamorza Cheese, Crispy Guanciale, Caramelized Onions
Greek Style Pizza – Salumi, Sweet Peppers, Charred Fennel, Orange
Foie Gras Pizza – Duck Confit, Pistachio Butter, Truffle Cheese, Fig Jam
Campfire Sundae – Toasted Marshmallow, Brownie, #Allthevanilla Ice Cream, Amazonian Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, Dark Chocolate Fudge, Graham Cracker Crumble
Bruleed Banana Split – #Allthevanilla Ice Cream, Amazonian Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, Strawberry Ice Cream, Dark Chocolate Fudge, Pineapple Puree, Pecans, Whipped Cream, Luxardo Cherries
Spumoni – Pistachio Cone, Roasted Salted Pistachio Ice Cream, Amazonian Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, Morello Cherry Sorbet, Dark Chocolate Fudge, Sandy Pistachios, Luxardo Cherries
Spearmint Chip Ice Cream
Peach & Ricotta Ice Cream
NY Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Vesta White Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Despite what Tivoli Village PR might tell you, Echo & Rig is merely average and until June 1st only Canter’s short-lived run has given 99% of Las Vegas a reason to visit the much maligned Mall, but on Saturday as a party of eleven Chef James Trees showed once again that he isn’t afraid to try and *create* a destination with Ada’s.
Said to be named in honor of Ada Coleman, a mixologist at London’s Savoy Hotel who is credited with inventing the Hanky Panky Cocktail, guests will find Ada’s tucked inside a completely renovated space formerly home to Waffle Bar and several other concepts, raised ceilings and brighter colors creating flow from inside to a pair of outdoor patios.
In ways a continuation of Esther’s Kitchen, several familiar recipes from native-born Chef Trees shared between two otherwise distinct concepts, it is banking on Pizzas plus a new Ice Cream program that James and his investors hope to lure in a population long-committed to chains such as Brio, and with all but two items under $20 the price-point is such that two guests can dine for less than $60 including an Appetizer, Pizza or Pasta plus Dessert or Wine.
Pleasantly decorated around an open kitchen, a tree with photos and three-dimensional accents plus rounds of wood drawing the most attention, it is from a tableside cart that mixed drinks offer “dinner and a show,” the $18 price a bit steep though Liquor is top shelf with more affordable options also available.
Able to taste a large swath of the menu thanks to such a big group, two of most plates plenty to go around, it was beginning with Rice Balls stuffed with Sweet Corn and Cheese that dinner got started, a touch of heat both here and amidst crispy Cauliflower well utilized while “The Market Salad” carefully built upon bitter Greens with Stone Fruits, whipped Ricotta and Hazelnuts.
Bringing the “Beets” from Esther’s Kitchen west, something now ubiquitous across America made unique and delicious by the kitchen’s decision to add plump Ricotta Gnudi plus acidity, another great starter features plenty of Mussels cooked in Wine and Herbs, the addition of Housemade Calabrian Sausage putting spice and sapor in Broth that savvy diners will happily sop up with toasted Sourdough.
Repeated impressed by Dylan Jobsz baking, the young man named Ada’s Chef de Cuisine visibly stretching Dough in the kitchen and later seen boiling down Berries for Ice Cream, it was in the first bite of Pie that a progression from Esther’s was noted, crust more crisp and cornicione more developed whether topped in Salt Cod and Saffron or roasted Cherry Tomatoes plus cool Burrata that combine to create Las Vegas’ most complex Margherita.
Drawing from diverse influences, Chef Trees’ time with Andre Rochat and Michael Mina as well as Luke Palladino gifting him with the fundamentals and confidence to present tastes of Spain or Greece amidst Cal-Italian fare, those seeking housemade Pasta will be happy to know that some of Esther’s classics have been brought down the road in addition to all-new Gemmelli that sees Genoa’s typically Pine Nut-based Sauce built from Pistachios, Garlic and Citrus.
Getting back to Pizza, the “White Pie” appropriately topped by pale Produce and Truffled Cheese with restrained sweetness, those seeking something bolder will find it in ‘Nduja plus crispy Pork and Onions as well as “Greek Style” with Sweet Peppers and Orange plus thinly sliced Meat and a faint linger of Licorice.
Not about to pass on Ada’s most audacious item, Dylan’s golden Crust used to re-imagine Pintxos featuring Foie Gras in the Basque country, it was with an extra slice of Liver on each Pizza that guests swooned at such decadence before diving head-long into the first of three Sundaes, a toasted Marshmallow and Brownie presented like S’mores beneath housemade Fudge and what immediately has become the Valley’s best Ice Cream.
Checked upon frequently by Sonia Stelea, the former Bartender at Esther’s promoted to Ada’s General Manager, it was with all well-sated that the show continued on via Banana Split and Spumoni, both easily sharable by at least two and the latter a highlight thanks to its gluten-free Pistachio Cone filled by Ice Cream built from high Milkfat but low Sugar that allows natural flavors to shine.
Placing the phrase “Whatever you do, be the best” inside the front door, words to live by that seem all too frequently forgotten by Restaurants in the era of Instagram, it was to four more scoops that guests were treated before settling the tab, bright green Spearmint with no added colors very telling of its intensity while Peach & Ricotta, NY Blueberry Cheesecake with crumbled Crust and Chocolate Chips in a steeped Coffee base are all destination-worthy.
FIVE STARS: One part Esther’s, but moreso a Pizzeria and Ice Cream Parlor, it should come as no surprise that Ada’s takes no shortcuts in building dishes from quality ingredients and lots of passion – one only hopes the buzz lasts and creativity is embraced by a neighborhood likely unfamiliar with Baccala, ‘Nduja and Foie Gras, though based on the quality of everything tasted plus great service James, Dylan and Sonia are now providing exactly what Tivoli has long been lacking.
RECOMMENDED: Arancini, Beets, Baccala Pizza, Burrata Pizza, Gemmelli Pasta, Foie Gras Pizza, Spumoni Sundae, Peach & Ricotta Ice Cream, NY Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream, Vesta White Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.
AVOID: Only those who really love Mint should brave the Spearmint Chip.
TIP: Open 11a to 11p daily with most convenient access to Suite 120 offered by underground parking and the second escalator/elevator from the Rampart entrance. Reservations offered from 4:00pm to 10:30pm via Opentable.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.