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EVOO this past Thursday


Restaurants & Bars

EVOO this past Thursday

nomadfromcincy | Feb 20, 2005 11:07 AM

Visited EVOO this past Thursday as a belated V-Day celebration. I’ve been wanting to check out the Mon-Thur 7-course meal and this seemed like a great excuse. And it was easy to convince us that the extra $25 for the wine accompaniment would be well worth it. I wrote down each course and the accompanying wine, but here is my overall take:
- Incredible value. Don’t think there are many restaurants where you can try so many different dishes cooked at this quality level. We ended up getting nine courses and eight decent (>half a glass) pours of wine for $75 each. Ironically, I don’t think the regular menu is a good value at all.
- The meal is slow and I had read some previous comments that the service is slow. I think it is the kitchen that is slow, not the servers. I think they just take their time, and to be honest, I prefer that to being rushed. We ate a lot, but it was spread out over 3.5 hours, so we didn’t leave with our pants unbuttoned. The waiter did an excellent job.
- The food is “interesting,” but I think they might be trying to pull off too much. There are clear Asian influences, and then a lot of other random ingredients. It is a tribute that they have invented ways to make it work. But over the course of nine dishes, it would have been nice to see continuity. If I was just having 2-3 courses, it would’ve been easier to handle.
- The wine pairings worked very well for the most part and the waiter was knowledgeable enough to chat about the different wines.
- Here are the specific courses:
Smoked Salmon Wrapped Striped Bass – Potato Terrine with Applewood Smoked Bacon Bits, Last Summer’s Dill Pickles and Potato Chips
Paired with Codorniu Brut, Cava, Spain
This course was the highlight for me – the bass terrine (with a little mayo in there) with smoked salmon, home-made pickles… on top of a fresh, crisp potato chip. That was fantastic.

Cornmeal Fried Oysters with Goat Cheese Fondue and Apple-Bacon Salsa
Paired with 2003 Sauvignon Blanc, Babich, Marlborough, New Zealand
Better than a similar dish I had at the Fireplace in Washington Square, because the cornmeal was finer. The oysters were a little overpowered by everything else.

Smoked Rabbit Confit, Frisee, Watercress, Port Soaked Cherries and Toasted Pecan Salad with Shaved Vermont Cheddar and Grain Mustard - Rosemary Vinaigrette
Paired with 2001 Chardonnay, Artesa, Carneros, California
There was a lot going on here, but the best part was the salty, savoriness of the rabbit with the sweetness of the cherries. The wine was matched very well with this dish.

Pickled Smelt on toast with Roasted Red Peppers and EVOO
Paired with 2003 Chardonnay, Mad Fish, Western Australia
I think this was a last-minute addition based on what the waiter said. Pretty simple dish compared with everything else. If you like this type of fish, it is very nice… especially with the red peppers.

Chinese Box Full of Mustard Glazed Shrimp, Sesame - Hoisin Braised Beef, Gingered Vegetable-Cashew Salad and Jasmine Rice
Paired with 2001 Pinot Noir, Anapamu, Monterey County, California
Is this their signature dish? It is good, but there is a lot going on – the beef is sweet and melts in your mouth, while the shrimp are more delicate. Kinda strange.

Seared Carolina Striped Bass Fillet and Fried Prince Edward Island Mussels with Jim Cook’s Fingerling Potatoes, Rouille, and Saffron Laced Tomato-Fennel Sauce
Paired with 2001 Cotes du Rhone, Domaine de la Janasse, Rhone Valley, France
This might have been my favorite, just because the fish was so succulent. And the mussels were so lightly fried. Would order again.

Adobo Marinated Roast Lamb Rack and Maple Braised Lamb Shoulder Burrito with Black Beans, Hominy, Tangerine Segments, and Crisp Fried Corn Strips
Paired with 2002 Coppola Black Label Claret, California
I didn’t really care for the burrito – too messy and nothing special. The lamb rack was better.

Blue Hill Blue Cheesecake with Fried Sage and Cinnamon Poached Pears

Chipotle Chocolate Cheesecake with cinnamon cream and caramel
Paired with 1998 Croft Port, Portugal
This is like other Mexican chocolate cakes I’ve tried – very rich, with a nice tinge of spice on the after-taste. The twist was the cheesecake, but it wasn’t too strange. The strangeness was this course following the Blue Cheese Cake. Way too different.

For me, the highlights were Bass-Potato Terrine and the Striped Bass with tomato-fennel sauce. The Blue Cheese Cake was tasty and unusual, but very rich and I can’t imagine eating more than a few bites in any one sitting.

We’ll be back, but we’ll save it for a weekday night and we’ll have to wait till our stomachs shrink back down to their previous size. It is the type of place I’d go every 4 months or so.

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