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Duty and the Bistro

Adde Brewster's most notorious entree, the Weiner Schnitzel à la Holstein ($12.25), was created by Camenisch just three years ago, but it's already famous. The breaded veal cutlet arrived topped with two fried eggs and anchovies; although you can order the veal unadorned, the combination of egg, breading and moist meat was so good, it's hard to imagine the dish any other way. (A friend who ordered the plain cutlet at lunch reports that while the texture wasn't as interesting, the meat was still pretty tasty.)

Other old favorites, such as the calf liver with caramelized onions, bacon and lingonberries ($10.50), date from Brewster's tenure in the kitchen. ("Brewster's ghost will always be here," says Bjorklund.) You don't find liver on menus very often in these cholesterol-conscious times, but if you're gonna clog the arteries, this is the way to do it. The liver had the feel of butter and was sinfully accessorized with thick, smoky bacon and see-through onion slivers brown with long-cooked sugars.

But even the healthier entrees didn't skimp on flavor. The herbed grilled salmon with basil oil ($15.75) featured a well-grilled piece of fish with just a smidgen of oil and a side of asparagus-packed risotto. The grilled swordfish ($17.25), which most places cook to death, arrived unusually juicy and strong enough to stand up to the accompanying tangy red-onion confit.

Entrees come with the choice of one side dish from a list of a dozen; we worked our way through six without finding a loser. There was a damp, herb-sprinkled Spaetzle; a grilled artichoke half with great charred edges and a sweet heart; dense, cheesy rosti; golden pommes frites; a tart cucumber salad; and, best by far, gorgonzola mashed potatoes (the spuds also come plain or with garlic) filled with so much creamy cheese, it was hard to tell where the potato ended and the cheese began.

After such rich, flavorful food, only simple, light desserts appealed. The creme caramel ($4) fit the bill, with its pudding-like texture and slightly bitter caramel sauce. So did the chocolate mousse ($4), a stunning version with an intense chocolate taste and an airiness that nicely finished off the meal without finishing off my stomach. Adde Brewster even managed a surprisingly lightweight take on the usually heavy bread pudding ($4), which came with a buttery caramel sauce.

The last dessert was strongly recommended by our accommodating server, whose cheerfulness in the face of a cranky lunch crowd was remarkable. In fact, we did remark on it, and she responded with a few tales of troublesome customers, one of them a regular who finds it necessary not only to hate everything they serve him, but also to yell about it. "He'll be back again next week, though," she said, still smiling.

So will I.

Bistro Adde Brewster, 250 Steele Street, 388-1900. Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

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