I bypass the outdoor dining area at Amada (217 Chestnut Street); of Abby, the hostess, I request a seat near the window in the cool interior.  I know she’ll likely say no, given that the tables close to the window are set for four.  As a lone diner, I should belly up to the bar.

“Actually,” she says with a smile, retrieving the menu from the two-top where she is about to seat me, “there is an open space by the window.  But if necessary I’ll have to make that a communal table.”

I wouldn’t mind the company, but Amada’s brunch runs from 10:30 AM-2:30 PM on Saturday and Sunday, and it is already 1:30.

Too many dishes on the menu look delicious:  Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Amada’s Omelet, Salmón Ahumado (smoked salmon with egg salad and crème fraîche).  I want a little of everything, and I’ve come to the right place.  Amada is perfect for an indecisive diner like me, because the menu is full of tapas:  small plates.  Each serving is appetizer-sized, so it only makes sense to order two or three dishes.

The family of five at the next table orders eight different plates, and they double up on a few when their server Zane suggests it.  He delivers two sparkling bellinis to Mom and Dad before he takes my order.

Amada_2808-17AUG14“Coffee, please,” I request when he asks if I’d like one of Amada’s brunch cocktails.  I love a refreshing bellini, especially on a sweltering summer afternoon.  But I haven’t had coffee yet, and I’m about to pass out if I don’t get some caffeine injected into my veins.  I exaggerate, but I know a bellini will spin me since I haven’t eaten yet.

Zane returns with a silver pot and the aroma of Garces Trading Company (GTC) Coffee wafts in a smoky plume as it splashes into the bone-white cup.  “What can I bring for your brunch today?” Zane inquires.

Even though I want the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes also, I order only the Espárragos con Trufas:  asparagus, poached egg, smoked bacon, marinated black truffles.  Despite the fact I’m aware these dishes are small, it seems like a lot from the menu description.  Zane raises an eyebrow when I set down the menu.  “Have you been here before?”

“You’re going to tell me you serve small plates, so I should order more.”Amada_2802-17AUG14

“Exactly.  So what else would you like?”  Zane dubiously departs to place my conservative order when I promise to order more if (“when!” he says) I’m still hungry.

The asparagus offers a hint of crunch.  Salty bacon and earthy truffle complement the peppered veggie.  Creamy tender egg yolk balances the bright freshness.  Each bite possesses equal parts of the layered flavors.  Too soon, my dish is empty, while food runners place another round of small plates in front of my neighbors.

Clearly, Zane knows what he’s talking about.  I hang my head a little when I request the Tortilla Española.  He chuckles.  “See?  I tried to tell you!”  The dark coffee licks the side of my empty cup.

The Spanish tortilla—diced potatoes mixed with egg and lightly fried—arrives, it’s center steaming where the chef cut and plated it alongside the saffron aïoli. I alternately dip it in that and the remnants of my Espárragos con Trufas.

Amada_2803-17AUG14Tapas are traditionally served in settings that promote conversation.  The small plates allow people to move, mix, mingle.  While Amada is not set up quite like that, the large tables do encourage the collective experience.  I observe the three empty seats at my table and dig for my cell phone when Zane appears to ask about dessert.  He isn’t busy (because brunch is officially over); I drop my phone back into my bag and chat him up for a few minutes.  We speak of trivialities:  weather, coffee, food, best drink at Amada, our respective jobs.

I appreciate that he pauses to converse, though we’re strangers.  I reflect that when there is more than one, the food is somehow more delicious, the coffee richer, and the experience more meaningful.  The same goes for dishes at Amada:  more than one is always necessary.



Visit for brunch, lunch, dinner, and cocktail menus and hours.

Staff Writer:  Jann Simmons Andiamo

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