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Washington DC & Baltimore

Restaurant Eve: My Experience in Review


Restaurants & Bars Washington DC & Baltimore

Restaurant Eve: My Experience in Review

ponocat | | Oct 17, 2006 01:46 PM

The first impressions of a restaurant are, of course, formed when walking through the door. Restaurant Eve is lovely and relaxing from the outset. Entering, you can see a comfortable bar on your right and, as you pass down a hallway to the left, toward the dining rooms, you view a wine cellar and a bustling kitchen. The dining room in which I sat had a row of three booths along a mirrored wall in the back. There were 15-20 tables depending on whether they were intended for two or four people.

I was extremely comfortable in the booth. My only criticism is that the seat was so well worn that it sunk deeply where one must sit; the cushioning is simply gone. I was very glad not to be at one of the miniature tables for two. Not only did they have minimal space for one’s dining, but most were very close together. The tables across the aisle from me were some 18 inches apart. There is no way to have any privacy in such a situation; I would prefer a communal table to that.

When we sat, we were offered menus and a wine menu. I love to have a glass of wine to sip while I consider the meal, so I turned to that menu first. There were none by the glass, so I began to consider the bottles. When a waiter came to take our drink orders, I learned that there is indeed a by-the-glass menu—a short list contained in a block of plastic. I did not like it that my husband’s drink arrived at the same time as my getting that by-the-glass menu, but I liked it even less that the plastic was smudged and greasy-feeling. (I felt compelled to go and wash my hands after handling it.) I saw nothing appealing by the glass, so ordered the bottle we had selected.

After a bit, the sommelier came to say that the wine we’d selected was no longer available and offered another. I found the substitute quite acceptable. Nevertheless, my opinion is that either unavailable wines should somehow be so-indicated on the menu, or the waiter should tell you. All told, it was a bit of time and effort just to get a glass of wine!

The menu has a good selection of 10 appetizers and 9 entrees. Some descriptions appealed more than others: “Bacon, Egg & Cheese Salad”, to me, just doesn’t compete with “Heirloom Beets with Walnuts and Pipe Dreams Farms Goat Cheese.”

I decided to start with “Maryland Crabcakes with Baby Greens.” My husband’s choice was the “Housemade Charcuterie.” Both were excellent in terms of presentation and taste, and we felt that the menu’s description of the dishes was apt. The crab in the two cakes was very fresh lump meat with little added filler. It was perfectly spiced to allow one to taste the mild crab flavor. The strongest spice I tasted was chives. The baby greens alongside were also excellent—fresh and gently coated with vinaigrette.

I like to make a meal of multiple appetizers, so I next ordered the “Heirloom Beets with Walnuts and Pipe Dreams Farms Goat Cheese.” (I have been trying hard to increase my intake of vegetable, but I find steamed or stir-fried vegetables unappealing. So, I particularly look for vegetable salads as well as more complex recipes involving vegetables.) My husband chose “Pan Roasted Veal Sweetbreads with Fried Oysters and Country Ham.”

I expected from the description that I would receive sliced beets with either a round of goat cheese on the side or a goat cheese cream zig-zaged across the beets. What I got was a large bowl of greens—something not even in the description—the same greens and vinaigrette that I had gotten as a side with the crabcakes. There was one tiny gold beet, about 2 inches in diameter, that had been quartered and thrown in, along with a smattering of walnuts and a couple of chunks of cheese. In retrospect, I wished that I had sent the dish back. I ate the beet morsels and cheese, leaving the rest. I believe that the waiter should have known what was in the dishes and should have warned me that I would be getting another salad like the one I’d had. I also think that the description of the heirloom beets was grossly off-target.

My husband’s sweetbreads were perfectly cooked and the fried oysters and “country ham”—which tasted like tasso ham—were good accompaniments. We both thought it was the best course of the meal.

I chose “Poached Bouchot Mussels in the Style of our Sister City” as my last course. The waiter explained that the style meant that they were flavored with apple. What he should have said is that the mussels’ texture would come through, but that I would taste only apple—it was cooked in apple cider and apple vinegar, with apple chunks thrown in. It was an overwhelming treatment for the mussels.

For dessert we chose to split a pecan tart with vanilla ice cream. The filling of the tart was yummy, but the overall dish was marred by the crust. It had the rock-hard texture that you find in pre-fab, frozen pies crusts—nothing buttery or crumbly about it. Although we did not discuss it, neither of us ate any crust after one bite. The ice cream was but a tablespoon full, so we each had only one small taste. I wished for more, as it was delicious.

We asked about after-dinner teas, as there was an intriguing selection. We wanted something decaffeinated and mild. The waiter had no idea how anything tasted, so we winged it. We got a brew that was so bitter that my husband set it aside. Although our server had been there whenever we beckoned, he failed when it came to helping us with selections.

I will probably never go to Restaurant Eve again, nor will I recommend it. Although it has a pleasant ambiance and some excellent food, there were some serious downsides. Most damning is the fact that of the 6 dishes we ordered, 3 excelled and 3 were very disappointing indeed. 50-50 just doesn’t get it.

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