I had posted on here about a week ago to see if anyone had thoughts on Eola and I had not received any responses. I decided to check it out, given the good press I'd read, and wanted to report back that it is a major foodie place and I hope that some other CHers will check it out!
First, the space. A townhouse in Dupont. Great set up, but pretty small. There are two floors, which will seat 48. Upstairs can also be a private dining room (has a separate bar) if you're looking for a good space for 25 or so people for dinner. Felt very chic. On a Tuesday night, it was pretty quiet, but I imagine on a packed evening it may be different. Semi-open kitchen, and chefs were all quiet and very focused.
Second, the service. Absolutely phenomenal. I've become accustomed to bad service in DC, and I no longer complain about it, but when there is actually good -- or, in this case, great -- service, I like to note it. Our water glasses were never more than 1/4 empty. Our silverware was cleared and then immediately replaced. The servers were friendly, and achieved the perfect mix of being present and tending to all our needs but not being intrusive. The manager/sommelier was great and had some great wine knowledge. I chose a wine tasting with my meal, but told him I'm not a fan of white wines. He did not judge me (bonus points) and then crafted my wine pairings to be all red wine. He introduced me to some really amazing Spanish reds and picked perfect whites with the appropriate courses for DH. He gave me wines that were unlike anything I've had before (and I'm really into wine), made from grapes I've never heard of, and that were such wonderful discoveries for me. He was able to bring back that excitement about wine discovery for me -- so definitely seek his suggestions when choosing wine (if you don't go with the wine pairing option).
Finally -- the FOOD. Oh my, the food. I was with DH for his birthday, and he is a chef. A chef who was cooking in SF before I convinced him to move back to DC with me. His standards for fine dining food is VERY HIGH and Eola met his expectations - yay! Eola is a tasting menu (with three options per course) for $65. Wine pairings additional $34. We did two tasting menus, two wine pairings. All the food was phenomenal -- listing of what we had below with a few side comments.
*Starter course of chef chosen small plates. Fried Head cheese with a quail deviled egg; mussel with sriacha aoili; grilled bread with a ton of fiddle head ferns and morel mushrooms (OMG Amazing); ramp panna cotta (something unlike anything I've tasted before -- and the essence of ramps).
*First course: DH had the Green Garlic Veloute (was actually too salty). I had the suckling pig salad with lentils and spring greens -- WOW.
*Second course: DH had paprika infused fettuccine with braised rabbit. I had the ricotta and wild nettle ravioli with tomato ragout and morels.
*Main Course: DH had the braised shoat. I had the lamb with braised radishes. I had never had a radish cooked this way and I had no idea a radish could taste like this. I also never thought I'd see the day when I'd be blown away by a radish!! Both mains were so delicious and had perfectly paired elements.
*Cheese course (an additional $15): It was a Shenandoah cheese plate. We were not blown away. It was fine. We found the cheese to all be tasty, but too similar, and the pairings didn't wow us. We liked the local element of it, but probably would skip this next time.
*Dessert: DH had Zabaglione of Stout Beer. I had strawberry shortcake. Both were a really great. My shortcake was the perfect texture and still warm and it certainly tasted as if it had just come out of the oven.
**Biscotti and cookies: We couldn't even think of coffee -- but they brought us this final plate including two meringues (saffron and black pepper). We could only look at them because we were so stuffed full, but they nicely packed them up and we will enjoy them at home tonight :)
Sorry for the really long post, but seriously, this is some of the best dining in DC!