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Published: Friday, November 29, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Adam's Northwest Bistro a pleasant surprise in Monroe

In small town Monroe, at Main and Lewis streets, you will find a non-small-town restaurant, Adam's Northwest Bistro. My husband and I dined there with a friend one recent Friday night and were blown away by our meals.
In conjunction with the Twin Rivers Brewery next door, the tiny bistro offers a variety of delicious food options, all NW sourced and homemade, with a nice list of brew choices.
On this Friday night, the restaurant was busy; as a table was vacated, it was soon filled. With the high, industrial ceilings and the densely packed tables, the restaurant was noisy. The servers were friendly and helpful, answering all of our questions.
My husband, Tom, tried the IPA and later the Halloween Ale ($5.75 each). He said they were both good, but the ale was his favorite. My friend chose root beer ($3) from the house-made non-alcoholic beverages, which included ginger beer and cream soda.
We chose the smoked salmon plate from the varied appetizer list that included calamari, wings, pork sliders and scallops ($8 to $13). If you took a piece of the cracker, applied a small shmear of the tangy goat cheese and a couple of hunks of smooth, smoky salmon, then topped it with a slice of the pickled onion, you had the perfect bite. There was enough for each of us to have several perfect bites.
Delicious seeded rolls turned out to be the only thing not made in house, but they came from Sky Valley Bakery, just around the corner. That is local sourcing.
My friend and Tom both raved about the Walla Walla sweet onion and ale soup ($7). It looked a lot like a French onion soup but had a deeper, rich flavor with the salty gruyere melting over the chunk of bread and into the dark broth.
I enjoyed a fresh Caesar salad ($7); "Yes, anchovies please" added a salty bite.
Tom's plum-sauced pork tenderloin ($21) came with lightly garlic flavored mashed potatoes and the roasted winter vegetable combination of Brussels sprouts, squash, carrots and turnips. I tasted a bite; the tenderloin was wonderfully moist and tender.
My friend ordered the fish and chips ($16), served with coleslaw and garlic fries. The three golden brown fish pieces were enveloped in a light-as-tempura batter that was crisp and flavorful. The cod inside was flaky. The coleslaw was unremarkable, the fries, mildly garlic flavored and the house made tartar sauce was both creamy and chunky with pickle pieces.
I liked my dinner the best: the duck breast ($26) served with roasted red potatoes and the winter vegetables (they remembered to remove the Brussels sprouts from my vegetables, whew).
The roasted potatoes were crisp, almost caramelized halves and sprinkled with herbs. The duck was perfectly cooked, thinly sliced and dressed in a thick, rich sauce chunky with cherries. Melt in your mouth delicious.
Other entre options range from the "Bistro" or "Adam" burgers ($15) to NW seafood stew ($24). Seafood of the day was halibut with risotto.
The desserts looked as pretty as they tasted. We tried the brownie with dark chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream, and carrot cake.
The warm brownie's texture was soft, almost molten.
The carrot cake had thin layers of cake and thick layers of nutty filling and was drizzled with ginger caramel sauce.
Both the caramel sauce and chocolate sauce were scrape-your-spoon-across-the-plate good.
We really enjoyed our meals, found the atmosphere comfortable and the staff inviting. What a nice find, in an unexpected place.
Adam's Northwest Bistro & Brewery
104 N. Lewis St., Monroe; 360-794-4056; www.adamsnwbistro.com.
Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 4 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
Specialty: Bistro food.
Vegetarian options: Limited.

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