Inside the recent whirlwind of closings, openings, quick closings in order to reopen later and yet more openings and closings, we find ACME F&B, the latest to open its great big wooden doors.
In the space that formerly held Cretia's and its infamous "Boom Boom Room," ACME F&B appears like a delicious phoenix, rising from the ashes of VD-laden skanks. And it's likely the four women at the helm, Barcadia's Brooke Humphries and Brianna Larson and Goodfriend/Good To Go Taco's Colleen O'Hare and Jeana Johnson, would cook that phoenix from beak to talon, if given the opportunity.
Why the drawn-out analogy? Well, word is these ladies are participating in something called a "whole animal allocation program" which is hippie speak for dividing up the animals' edible parts among the multiple restaurants in their portfolio allowing for farmer-friendly, ever-changing menus.
But back to ACME F&B. Its interior is woody and recycled, but very well put-together, reminiscent a more masculine Sissy's. Rust, wood and patina dominate the color palette. Rustic details are not overlooked, from the graph paper typewritten menus, to the paper-and-string-tied bread at each table, to the button-up-and-jeans uniform of the staff. As expected, opening night was jittery, with wait staff occasionally bumping into each other like super-charged molecules, but the energy of the place was charming.
Cocktails ($10-$12) are thoughtfully assembled with something on the menu for everyone. Our table enjoyed the Blueberry Lemon Cooler with limoncello, blueberries, mint and soda, as well as a Dark & Stormy, featuring Gosslings, ginger beer and lime. Also featured is a lengthy list of wines poured by-the-glass and a collection of 24 beers on tap.
First and second courses range from $9 for a summer chop salad with three-seed vinaigrette to $18 for Washington state oysters on the rocks with mignonette. We chose the Yukon skins with braised beef and horseradish crém fraiche ($10) and were not disappointed.
Mains don't come cheap at ACME F&B. A vegetarian dish of summer vegetables with spaetzle gratin is $22, and prices rise steeply from there, up to $32 for farmers cut beef, pork or lamb. I couldn't resist the chicken and dumplings with rainbow chard gnocchi ($27), which was rich and peppery. The "farmers cut" of lamb was served two ways: on the rack and shredded like brisket, accompanied by roasted cauliflower, tomatoes and fennel. Portions are hearty, but not huge.
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Dessert was a tough choice, but we finally decided on the Texas peach and blueberry cobbler with berry frozen custard ($8). It was well worth saving room for.
Grab your standard-issue dining partner and head to ACME F&B. I think you'll be surprised how, from snout to tail, nothing there is plain, general or standard at all. And the "Boom Boom Room?" Forgotten.