Friday, August 07, 2009

Eventide: Even Good!

My friends teased me with, What's wrong with you? When I said I'd gone to Arlington for dinner. (Mainly because we live downtown near so many great restaurants.) However, Tuesday night, I ventured out to Clarendon to meet up with a friend at Eventide.

To be honest, I wasn't excited.

But that quickly changed when I waited for my friend at the downstairs bar and had an Argentinian sparkling Chardonnay, Alma Negra. It was not bad...but the pour was huge! On top of that, the place was not crammed full of people. Given, it was a Tuesday night, but still, they make it a policy not to let it get too crowded. I REALLY like this. Anyway, the generosity of the glass and the attentive bar tender were signs of good things to come.

When my friend arrived, we went upstairs to the dining room, which was a dimly-lit, high-ceilinged, velvet curtain extravaganza. It was quiet despite being cavernous, and really beautifully outfitted in what can only be described as lounge chic. Our server told us that everything from the rugs to the curtains, and even the textured place mats were purposefully chosen to reduce noise. Smart.

We started with a nice gazpacho shooter with a bit of curried pine nuts (I think). It was very lightly seasoned, but had a nice subtle flavor. Then we moved on to our starter of a jumbo lump crab salad with pickled watermelon rind! I went to college in the south, and am no stranger to pickled melon rinds - so delicious. We were surprised by, again, the generosity of the portion. The crab, in particular. I expected a bit of lump crab on a large bed of greens, but it was quite the opposite. The plate was covered in crab and there were touches of fresh water melon balls and strips of the salty and tangy pickled rinds. Fantastic.
Speaking of Southern, the biscuits were truly authentic, and delicious. Dense but fluffy all at once, with a bit of butter glaze on top. Very good!

I had the La Quercia Pork Chop, which was wrapped in Prosciutto and accompanied with lemon braised Swiss chard, summer peach & bourbon compote, heirloom peppers. I had a decent Pinot with it, but I forget the name. It was a nice twist on, again, Southern flavors (e.g. pork chops and greens).

My friend, Abby, had her favorite - salmon. It looked pretty with an accompaniment of fresh pea ragout and cornmeal gnocchi. But, seriously, why order salmon when you have so many more interesting things to savor? I almost got the squash "linguini" with battered...SQUASH BLOSSOMS! But I was hungry and wanted something more substantial.

Overall, it was a lovely experience. The service was attentive and friendly without being too imposing (you know, like at chain restaurants where the waiter wants to be your buddy and asks you if you're "still working on that" - there's none of that). Give Eventide a try - you won't regret it!

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