Adams Lake Pub
Where: 5365 E 620 S Wolcottville, IN
Hours: 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday-Tuesday
Shrimp cocktail: $11.99
Spinach artichoke dip: $8.99
Adam's Lake salad: $9.99
10-ounce house signature sirloin: $15.99
8-ounce filet mignon: $27.99
Potato crusted tilapia: $14.99
Shrimp scampi: $14.99
½-pound steakburger: $5.99
Green olive Swiss steakburger: $9.99
Cinnamon deep dish apple pie: $6.99
Kentucky Bourbon pecan pie: $5.99
Chocolate temptation cake: $5.99
I always want to give people the benefit of the doubt, but this meal wasn't getting off to a welcoming start.
Adams Lake Pub is hard to find, and it doesn't help that there is inadequate signage once you get off the main highway. We would have been late for our reservation if we'd had one - and that's where the problems started.
Hoping to have a lakeside dinner, we were curtly informed by the hostess that – without a reservation – that wasn't possible. Instead we were shunted off to the side and seated at a table that didn't match any of the decor in the rest of the restaurant. The table was small and the chairs were shabby.
Despite that disappointment, I tried to reset and focus on the food.
Adams Lake Pub is known for its lobster bisque. The bisque was rich and creamy, and I got big piece of lobster in the first bite. It would have been perfect had it not been served lukewarm.
Bread was brought to the table along with cinnamon butter. The butter was good, but the dough had a strange texture, like it hadn't been baked long enough. We could only stomach a few bites. No bread plates were delivered to our table, either.
Before I go any further, I must mention how cold we were during our meal. We were seated right underneath an air vent, and it was very uncomfortable. I'm sure this is part of the reason the bisque wasn't warmer. Later I heard a hostess quip to guests at a nearby table that they were “sitting in the draft.” I didn't find that particularly funny.
My friend's side salad arrived; it looked fresh and colorful. Though the ingredients were ordinary, he said the raspberry vinaigrette dressing was tangy and delicious.
I'm not a big red meat eater, but I splurged and ordered the 10-ounce New Orleans porterhouse steak accompanied by a vegetable blend and a twice-baked potato. The steak was prepared exactly to my specifications - medium. The meat was tender, juicy and peppery.
During the meal I tried to shirk off my first impression. The tastiness of my steak helped turn things around … a little.
By the time I finished my steak and veggies, my potato was stone cold. I'm blaming the air vent. Despite the temperature, this spud was large and overflowing with melted cheese and salty bacon. The flavors worked well together, but again, this would have been excellent had the potato stayed hot.
My friend enjoyed his Jamaican tilapia with mango salsa. The fish had a delicate taste and a pleasing flaky texture. The salsa added a hint of sweetness and was a good pairing with the fish.
We both ordered the vegetable blend, but there was a big discrepancy in what we got. I had mostly yellow and zucchini squash with a few trees of broccoli and no carrots. My friend's was mostly carrots with some chunks of squash, but no broccoli. They were well seasoned and cooked properly - not mushy.
My favorite course, dessert, was next, and I gave the restaurant another opportunity to change my opinion. I was immediately drawn to the chocolate temptation cake. It sounded like it would please my chocoholic's heart.
The cake was beautifully presented with the drizzling of chocolate ganache on the plate and the cake. But when I took the first bite, I was crestfallen. This was billed as a decadent chocolate dessert, but the cake was dry and tasted stale. I expected a dense, heavy, moist cake. On the other hand, the icing was smooth, creamy and sinfully good - worthy of a temptation cake. I love chocolate and it pains me to say this, but I could only eat a couple of bites. I did, however, scrape off spoonfuls of the icing.
My friend's Kentucky Bourbon pecan pie was a much more satisfying choice.
The filling was luscious and the Bourbon taste was mellow. The top was encrusted with tasty pecans and drizzled with caramel sauce. This was by far the best dish of the meal.
Our meal wasn't cheap and, because of that, I had high expectations.
The inconsistency in food quality and the atmosphere are Adams Lake Pub's biggest failings. Some dishes would have been outstanding had they not been cold. My first suggestion is to address the draft problem. I am never cold, and even I was freezing.
I will take ownership for not making a reservation, and although I was very disappointed about not being able to sit outside, I didn't appreciate the snootiness of the hostess.
Unify the decor and get rid of the only table that doesn't match the rest of the restaurant. I felt like I was relegated to that odd table because I didn't have a reservation.
Add more tables outdoors.
Spice up the salad ingredients.
Freshen up the chocolate temptation cake. Make it worthy of its name.
And lastly, improve the signage. Unless you're a local or you make it your only destination, you'll never stumble on it.
Until these issues are addressed, I will not make the drive again.