Review: Restaurant Eve Bistro

My friends and I have started a sort of… dining club, as much as I can describe it. The goal is to visit a really nice restaurant once every two months or so. Our first restaurant visit was to the Bistro at Restaurant Eve. My friend N. did a really nice job of describing a number of things on Definitely in a way that would be far more poetic than my prose. I would say that this visit set the bar extremely high for our future restaurant visits, and we’re not quite sure where to move on from here.

Gin and house-made tonicThe evening started off in the bar with a gin and tonic with housemade tonic and Citadelle. It came with the curliest lime zest I have ever seen. In the narrow glass floated a solitary square ice cube that would just fit into the glass. Great gin without the scent of rubbing alcohol or Pine-Sol.

By the way, as usual I didn’t use flash in these pictures. I don’t want to be THAT jerk, unlike the folks at a table behind us. So that is why they’re a little blurry.

Our server was an interesting guy. He had a tendency to lean in and speak softly into my ear. Like he was whispering sweet nothings. For instance, he leaned down and quietly commented that he would be right with us, and then the sweet seduction amounted to nothing as we waited. Not that it mattered. We were puzzling over menu descriptions like “liquid gold.” It was also a little strange that as we were about ready to order our food, he would spring the specials on us. He did this when ordering entrees and again at dessert.

Hamachi with preserved lemon sea salt and red onionI knew I wanted hamachi. It is a type of fish that makes me very, very happy. Five little sashimi slices of hamachi came out with paper-thin slices of preserved lemon, sprinkles of sea salt, tiny bits of chopped red onion and microgreens. Rich and buttery, each slice melted in my mouth. It was very hard to not simply shovel all of it into my mouth. I was still one of the first to finish my appetizer. I am a little obsessed with properly sprinkled salt that hits you suddenly. It also helps when there is the sourness of an acid, and the slightly bitter sharpness of raw onion.

Crisp Veal Sweetbreads with Duck Confit and some kind of root vegFor the next course, I ordered the veal sweetbreads with duck confit and some type of root vegetable. Sweetbreads are the thymus gland of the veal. It plays a role in the immune system in early human development. I’ve had sweetbreads before at Jaleo. It was a nasty preparation with some sort of thin tomato sauce, and it REALLY tasted like organ meat. The sweetbreads at Eve are lightly fried with a rich demiglace, which I imagine is from the duck confit. I’m sure the frying slightly masks the organ-y flavor of sweetbreads, which I obviously favor. The texture reminded me a lot of fried tofu with a certain lightness. Although the longer in rested in my mouth the richer and denser it seemed to become. Interspersed with little bites of duck confit this became a nice dish against the cool fall weather.

Overall, there was a definite wow/sigh factor to the food. It was satisfying and delicious, and that makes me ultra-happy. I am interested in what kind of service other “4-star” restaurants have. The 4-star rating was probably for the Tasting Room specifically. I thought the service was good and attentive, but I didn’t feel special. The very best restaurants I’ve been to have an ability to make you feel special or pay attention to the little details. I also think that when I get to a certain level I would like to be told what I am eating, even though I did just order it. It helps to have a refresher.

Restaurant Eve in Alexandria

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