The Barn

A cool, imaginative start to the day
December 26, 2007 12:12:26 PM

Over the years, I’d heard about the Barn but never managed to get there before the closed sign flipped. The place has a devoted following of regulars, but since it’s exclusively a breakfast restaurant, it closes early. Having occasion to be in elusive Adamsville one recent morning, I got my chance.

The place’s name isn’t designed to evoke only rural contentment, it’s descriptive. The structure is said to be two centuries old, a former stable with hayloft and other aromatic accompaniments. But it’s in such good shape that the only original components might be the thick supporting beams. Step inside on a cold winter day, as we did, and you might be reminded of the expression, “Close the door — do you live in a barn?” It must be expensive to heat such a large space, and the open-beam roof doesn’t look insulated.

The interior is homey, with mix-’n’-match chairs around tables as un-uniform. The knotty-pine plank walls are plastered with watercolors of various local artists, most depicting such regional sights as ospreys and fishing boats bobbing at piers.

At the entrance is a chalkboard with multicolored descriptions of a half-dozen specials, immediately checked out by regulars who have worked their way through the menu more than once. Eggnog French toast, crepes, and unusual omelettes tempted us as we entered.

If anybody has already told you about the Barn, they’ve probably mentioned Terri, the waitress who sometimes puts on a show by balancing laden trays on her head. Or they might mention the friendly service in general, another reputation of the place. Well, Terri was off the morning we showed up, but our amiable server, Crystal, was a treat. She was smiling even after having just survived an influx of 15 customers from the Navy base who were drifting out as we were walking in.

The first thing I did when seated was scan the menu for unusual items, noticing first that the steak, served with two eggs, home fries, and toast ($10.95), is marinated. The oatmeal with apples, raisins, and walnuts ($4.25), is baked Irish oatmeal, the flavorful kind that remains al dente, rather than getting cooked to mush.

What also intrigued me were their four interesting variations on eggs Benedict ($8.25-$10.95), in addition to the regular one, which included one with lobster and asparagus. There were no eggs Florentine. Instead, the spinach version was eggs Sardou, with artichoke hearts, roasted garlic, and creamed spinach under the hollandaise sauce. That last one Johnnie especially appreciated when she was here before. (The other item she sampled and liked then was “Adamsville jonnycakes” [$3.95], done East Bay-style, thin, crisp, and pancake size.)

However, the version they call “Eggs on the Bayou” ($9.95) is now my absolute favorite, bar none. The poached eggs on the English muffin halves are over crab cakes and under a Creole hollandaise sauce. The yoke and crab and just-hot-enough lemony sauce perfectly complement one another. Exquisite. And the chunks of home fries, by the way, are nicely herbed with rosemary. A small wedge of watermelon is a quirky and refreshing touch.

Johnnie enjoyed an omelette special ($8.95) that contained braised kale, Savoy cabbage, and collard greens, with Roma tomatoes. She was impressed that while the kale was left with some bite, it was young enough to still be tender. The muffin maven also pronounced her cranberry-orange muffin as “excellent,” sparked up with orange zest.

We agreed that another chalkboard special, crêpes ($6.95), were as good as they get. The freshly made crêpes were tasty by themselves and filled with non-mushy apples and pears, walnuts providing texture, under a cinnamon glaze.

A side of the kitchen-made corned beef hash ($3.95) is enough for two, by the way, and contains a little shredded carrot for color, as well as bell peppers. There’s that imagination again.

Heading the kitchen for the past decade or so has been Jon Dexter. Chatting with him after our meal and remarking that the place was busier than we thought it would be on a weekday, he told us we should see it on a weekend.

“Every Sunday is like Mother’s Day,” he said. The Barn doesn’t take reservations, so bear that in mind if you come on a weekend. When the weather gets warm again, though, the 35-seat patio will increase the elbow room — if you can wait that long. As for me, I’m too curious about that marinated steak.

THE BARN | 401.635.2985 | 16 Main St, Adamsville | MON-Fri-Sat, 6:30 am-noon; Sat-Sun, 7 am-1 pm | major credit cards | BYOB | Sidewalk-level access

Bill Rodriguez can be reached at .


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