Monday, May 18, 2009

All About (Restaurant) Eve

By Pat Tanner

Actually, a little bit about it. It’s impossible to squeeze into one post all there is to say about Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong’s restaurant in Old Town Alexandria. But I can tempt you with tasty tidbits from a recent dinner, one that amply demonstrated why Chef Cathal was nominated this year for a Beard award as best chef in the Mid-Atlantic.

Tidbit #1: A starter listed simply as “OOO.” “Oh-oh-oh” is what you gasp while downing the gossamer puff pastry shell (the chef’s mother’s recipe). Inside, cavorting in light cream sauce, are fat, sassy oysters, caramelized cipollini onions, and – wait for it – Osetra caviar.

Tidbit #2: Homemade pasta of a shape I haven’t encountered before – carmelle (reminiscent of taffy wrappers) – made with stinging nettle. (It doesn’t sting when cooked, and it provides a wonderful “green” taste - kind of like spinach.) The pasta gets tossed with roasted abalone mushrooms and housemade ricotta. Whoa.

Tidbit #3: Lamb loin with Moroccan spices. To be precise: Pan-roasted Shenandoah lamb loin with green olives, cipollini, pine nuts, and tagine spice jus. Nuff said.

Tidbit #4: The cheese course. How can you beat Tete De Moine shaved paper-thin on a girolle so that the resulting ruffled curlicues do, in fact, resemble the trumpet mushrooms for which the implement is named? You up the ante by pairing it with golden raisin jam and baby carrot salad.

Tidbit #5: It’s not that the thin layers of vanilla and chocolate cake spread with pistachio icing aren’t wonderful on their own, but when sommelier Todd Thrasher pairs this dessert with Malmsey Madeira from The Rare Wine Company, it reminds you why food and wine pairing should never be left to amateurs.

There is more – so much more – to dining here. Every sense is engaged and ultimately pleased. To discover ALL about Restaurant Eve, check it out for yourself.

110 South Pitt Street
Alexandria, VA

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