Monday, February 12, 2007

restaurant eve

( I've been sitting on this "review" for about two weeks now so I think it's about time to post it. A nice dinner with my old boss and co-worker.)

What do frog legs, an iron, and photos of naked chefs (and no, I don't mean Jamie Oliver) have in common? You can find them all at Restaurant Eve.

I almost missed the restaurant driving down S Pitt St in Old Town Alexandria. The windows on the front of the building display the bar and lounge, but the lights were so dim I had to do a double-take to find the restaurant. A narrow corridor lead us to the "front door". Once in the lobby, the hostesses greeted us with a smile and showed us to our table in the Bistro. A small, quaint room with a vaulted ceiling that came down low enough that the waiters (at least the taller ones) had to duck their heads while moving about the room from table to table.

We started off with fried frog legs with a fennel and blood orange salad. (Yes, those are frog legs in the photo and yes, those are their feet. Yummy!) It was actually not bad at all. Tasted like chicken. I've had frog legs before at Chinese dim sum places but these long and lean legs, compared to the short and stumpy ones you find in a bamboo steamer, could have strutted down a runway. Maybe they get their frogs from Brazil. Dinner continues.

My evening fare paired with a dry Rhone verietal white :
Artichoke soup with Black Perigord Truffles
Confit of House Cured Pork Belly with Fresh Beans and Oregano
Sorbet (Lemon, Coconut, Grapefruit)

Everything was good; as expected. The black truffle essence and chives brought a new layer of flavor and texture to the creamy artichoke soup. The house cured pork belly, a delicacy well-known at the house of Eve, just melted in my mouth. A bit salty for my taste, but how else would you have a cured pork belly confit. I felt almost as bad eating this as the time I had a midnight snack of fried sausage after a night of beer drinking in Galway. (OK, maybe not, but I'm sure Chef Armstrong would appreciate the reference to Ireland. Possibly not that either?) The sorbets were good. The grapefruit and lemon were quite tart, which definitely cleansed the palate. To my surprise, I liked the coconut the best; with just a slight hint of the tropical fruit it helped pacify my puckered lips.

(Alternative entree suggestion for those who might shy away from eating a chunk from Babe's belly: The scallops and polenta squares were popular among the guests.)

So, you're probably wondering about the iron and naked chefs reference. Our server was setting up his table next to ours; he brought out a clean white table cloth and smoothed it over the table with as much precision as a boot camp cadet would make his bed for a morning inspection. Then out of nowhere, he whips out an iron from his utility belt and starts ironing the linen right on the table. How bizarre! And the naked chefs? You'll just have to go and find out for yourself.

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