You probably skim over a lot of the posts in your Instagram feed. Face painting at the birthday party of an actor’s kid, a politician wearing a hard hat at a construction site, everyone who posts selfies in cars.
On first glance, you may also mentally scroll right past Miss Ada. It’s a small Mediterranean spot in Brooklyn that serves ricotta, hummus, and chicken, which sounds like the restaurant version of another picture of that politician revealing he actually has no idea how to drive a tractor or chop a piece of wood. But we’d like to suggest that you not skip over this place, because the quality of the food and atmosphere at Miss Ada will grab your attention and keep it all the way through your meal.
As soon as you walk in to Miss Ada, you get the sense you’re in for something good: the smell of spices and meat are wafting in from the open kitchen, and everyone seems to be leisurely enjoying tables full of food and drinks. When you walk outside to the back, you’ll get the sense you’re in for something great: the backyard here is one of our favorite places to eat in Brooklyn. Outdoor dining in this city usually means a picnic table in a back alley or a few rusty tables four feet from a double-parked taxi, so drinking a lavender old fashioned and eating vegetables next to where they grow the lavender and vegetables feels extra special. Also, it’s open year-round - in winter, it’s fully covered and filled with space heaters.
The food is Mediterranean/Middle Eastern - falafel, hummus, kebabs - and while they don’t use any obscure ingredients, the versions here are unlike any others in the city. The crunchy falafel topped with green tahini is served in lettuce wraps, and somehow, it’s even more enjoyable than the 2am falafel you eat on your walk home from the bar. And the hummus here is taken to new heights when it’s topped with lamb shawarma. As for the large plates, very few things give us as much joy as finding truly great chicken at restaurants, and we found truly great chicken here. You might say we should go and get some hobbies, but this brick chicken in a pool of juices marked a chicken high-point that we’ll remember for a while.
Miss Ada doesn’t have a gold-plated bar or a menu full of ingredients you’ve never heard of. It just serves very good, reasonably-priced food in a highly enjoyable atmosphere. Dinner here is a surprisingly memorable experience that you’ll want to share with friends, or at least comment on in all caps.
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This bright pink-colored spread has layers of flavor beyond just pureed beets. The pickled beets give it some saltiness and the tahini provides a bit of bitterness. We’d also like a side of this warm, fluffy, slightly burnt pita to come with every dip, spread, and food that we eat from now on.
This ricotta could just as easily be a dessert as an appetizer, and we’re not going to complain about that. The cheese is whipped into a light, creamy texture, and comes with a nice amount of brown butter and honey. This needs to be on your table.
If you want seafood here, skip the appetizers and get the salmon.
Three large, crunchy pieces of falafel topped with bright green tahini. Each piece comes on a wedge of lettuce with some feta and olives, and you eat them like lettuce wraps. We really like this, but know that it’s pretty salty.
Lamb Shawarma Hummus
The hummus by itself would be worth ordering, but when it’s also topped with a large amount of fantastic lamb shawarma, it’s a must-order. You could come to Miss Ada alone on a random night, sit at the bar with a glass of wine, and just eat this lamb-y hummus with that addictively good pita. In fact, that sounds like a great night.
Despite being highly recommended by our server, this was the most (and only) disappointing thing we ate here. It’s three or four bites of salty octopus, and it’s $3-$6 more expensive than any other appetizer.
The kebabs here are not just chunks of meat on sticks. Well, they are, but they’re better and more interesting than they sound. Our favorite is the kofta (grass-fed beef), which comes out on a cinnamon stick and is topped with harissa and spices. The chicken hearts are an excellent use of $6, and they’re cooked on a rosemary sprig and served with a big scoop of tahini.
We found love in a hopeless place (chicken on a restaurant menu). The crispy skin is crusted with pepper, and the shareable portion sits in a pool of harissa, butter, and lemon, which you’ll want to spoon up after the meat is gone.
Za’atar Crusted Salmon
Not as large of a portion as the chicken, but a good slab of tender salmon with a thick crust of spices. It’s served over house-made labne, which we like quite a bit as well.
If you enjoy not overly sweet desserts, then you’ll want to explore this part of the menu. We liked the labne mousse, which is basically a foam topped with brightly colored pomegranate shaved-ice. For something heavier, the kanafeh is a flaky pastry stuffed with goat cheese and served with sorbet. You should probably just get both.