This is the first in a series of columns profiling local chefs and restaurants.
His experience ranges from cooking at restaurants in Massachusetts and Maine, and being the personal chef for the commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force during Desert Storm. And now, chef Adam White is at the helm of Lexx restaurant's kitchen, where he's been for two months, much to the pleasure of owner Don Rosenberg and managing partner Chris Bateman.
"He's brought a lot of culinary experience," Rosenberg said. "He's creative – he's given us a new way of pressing the envelope, getting more creative."
In October, Lexx will celebrate the sixth anniversary of its opening, but first, the summer menu is out, and diners are eyeing the restaurant's seafood selection, in addition to popular items like burgers, sandwiches and pastas.
Lexx is following up its popular hit last summer by bringing fried clams back to the menu, which Rosenberg called a "huge success" last year. White is also cooking up seafood specialties like scallops, halibut, mahi and soft-shell crab, all depending on what is fresh and in season.
A popular fish with diners, said Bateman, is the grilled naked rainbow trout, served with grilled peaches, mandarin oranges, grape tomatoes, almonds, fennel and baby arugula in a honey-lemon vinaigrette.
Lexx also focuses on finding the freshest ingredients, and ones grown or made locally, Rosenberg said.
"We try very hard to use local products and seasonal products," he said. "Things that are fresh and available so we can incorporate them into our dishes."
Rosenberg attributes Lexx's success to its reputation as a restaurant offering quality service and food in a clean and comfortable environment. The menu offers meals that don't hit the wallet too hard, while providing a range of selections – from burgers, salads and sandwiches starting at $6.50, up to signature dishes, grilled entrees, fish and pastas in the $14 to $26 range.
There's a shimp and mussels dish served with herbs, white wine and butter over angel hair pasta, for $21, or a Cornish game hen with mushroom gravy, roasted potatoes and broccolini with a rosemary biscuit, for $22.
Salads come in side or entrée sizes, while Rosenberg said the "Famous Lexx Burger," is one of the most popular menu items, at $8.5, and weighing in with eight ounces of natural ground Angus beef. Appetizers range from hand-cut blue cheese fries to a Mediterranean hummus plate.
The food choices draw diners from Lexington and its contiguous towns, like Arlington, Concord, Bedford and Belmont, Rosenberg said, and Lexx managed to thrive even while other restaurants have suffered from a poor economy.
"We've had some of our best periods during the worst periods of the recession," Rosenberg said. "People come for the variety, and we're not the highest-priced place, so we've found a niche. You have to hit on all cylinders in this business."
Lexx is doing that with the help of White, who is running with the restaurant's goal of providing tasty comfort food, while adding his own twist. He also enjoys the whimsical details on the menu, like the dish "Pork Three Ways," a pork tenderloin wrapped in natural bacon and served with grilled andouille sausage, mushroom polenta, asparagus and whole-grain mustard sauce.
Most of Lexx's desserts are made in-house, and include the rotating "Chef's Whim" pies, from blueberry to a rocky road pie with marshmallow, Heath Bar and chocolate and white-chocolate chips. Local and seasonal ingredients also find their way into the desserts, including in a strawberry rhubarb bread pudding.
Lexx also has an extensive martini menu, a full bar and wines from California, Oregon, Italy, France, Argentina and Spain to name a few.
Lexx is located at 1666 Massachusetts Ave., and is open for lunch Monday – Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday noon to 4 p.m., and for dinner Sunday – Thursday, 4 to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 4 to 10 p.m. More information on Lexx is available at: http://www.lexx-restaurant.com/