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cwdonald | Nov 16, 2011 05:59 AM

Its always a bit of a gamble to dine at a restaurant so close to its opening,.Nevertheless Ela did not disappoint.

To begin with the space is wonderfully warm and inviting, with a beautiful bar, and dark wood everywhere. The cocktail list is small but ambitious. I had the "Tommy Gun," an updated Dark and stormy with smoked blackstrap molasses and vanilla. It was a very nice drink. My DC had a drink that contained Calvados and apple cider, and is served warm. The bartender talked about their ambition to infuse their own liquors, as well as make their own bitters in addition to the syrups they are already making. That in and of itself will make Ela a destination worth returning to over and over.

The menu is offered in four parts, smallest bites to the largest. I started with the shrimp with garclic panna cotta, which was a dish full of flavor. I also tried the hamachi with green apple and horseradish. I expected more of a punch from the horseradish, but it was a very nice bite.

I followed that with an interesting salad made with beets and poached quince, served with yogurt like sauce. The quince was surprisingly mild, but it was very nice dish.

The next dish I had was the scallop noodles... served with shaved carrott and sesame and blood orange, this was a very interesting dish. Lots of flavor, but not the normal caramelized scallop that you come to expect. My DC had a duck breast served with pretzel spaetzel and smoked butternut squash purree. I would have liked a bit more smoke in the squash, and the pretzel spaetzel was very salty. Duck could have been warmer but was well cooked.

Dessert, split a pumpkin pie, which was more like a pumpkin mousse sitting atop gingersnaps with roasted figs on the side. It was a very nice update on traditional pumpkin pie.

There are several dishes that I didn't try that I expect folks will be talking about, including a foie dish with huckleberry, as well as a dessert that includes chocolate chip cookie dough (bit of a gimmick to me...).

I expect them to add a tasting menu similar to Blackfish, and to continue to add to their drink program.

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