First Look

ACME F&B Pops Out Some Interesting Dishes, Without the Boom Boom

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.

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.

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