Restaurant Eve is a special occasion place that was on my radar, along with The Inn at Little Washington, Minibar, and CityZen. All we needed was a special occasion. And we got one. I love engagements, weddings, showers, babies...pretty much anything involving parties, presents, and food. Although I left the idea open-ended, merely suggesting Eve among a worthy crowd, I basically steered us to the Tasting Room. It's a risky move to take people out somewhere you've never been, but I felt like we really couldn't go wrong.
Reservations for the Tasting Room can be made 2 months in advance. For example, if it is October 15th, you can make a reservation as late as December 15th. Within weeks of the good news, I booked us a table in October. I called later to detail dietary restrictions and spell the names of the celebrated couple. [That was the part where I referred to myself and J as "the garbage cans." We'll try anything once, even "fluffy ocean."]
We did a 7-course menu, which was definitely perfect--I left full, but not pants-bursting stuffed. The wine pairings seemed a little steep ($75, $85, and $95 to go with the 5, 7, or 9 course), and we ended up getting a bottle of Sauvignon Gris from Chile and later had a glass of champagne for a proper toast.
I'll note that our pescatarian was served a lot of fish. I was expecting at least a few more adventurous fishless vegetarian plates, but was surprised when yet another mini filet would appear. Between us we ate all kinds of stuff, including pike, sturgeon, sashimi, lamb, sweetbreads, and the super amazing (maybe a table fan favorite) mushroom agnolotti. The agnolotti was definitely my favorite, along with some of the tiny bites (more on that later). Three of us had beignets for dessert that were okay, but the chocolate-lover special requested the chocolate cake bar from the second menu above (actually, she just said "something with chocolate") and it was awesome. Super rich, super chocolatey, and a large portion. Made my beignets seem puny. She shared, because she's wonderful.
The dining room was a bit warm, especially for a place noting that gentlemen will feel comfortable in ties & jackets. Not without some air conditioning, they won't! I'll also say that the service was pretty attentive, but kind of awkward. With other tasting experiences, servers are coming and going, but usually the same person (or two) explains what each dish is when it comes out. Swift, efficient, friendly, but unobtrusive (after all, you are likely celebrating). We had different people coming and going, and it was just a little bit off. Not bad, just not smooth and practiced.
I liked everything. Some things more than others; for example, I found the lamb to be meh. It was very rare, but that's not a problem for me if the flavor is wow. A palate cleansing red pepper sorbet was very interesting, in a good way. The canapes and amouse bouche were also fun, but everything bigger than a bite lost that punch. If I'm going out for a tasting menu, I want it to wow me. Not confuse me, or interest me without being 100% delicious, but it should be delicious and intriguing. It makes me think that Eve has the tasting menu for non-tasting menu people. An adventure for the less adventurous. Classic American cuisine, well-executed, yet not intimidating at all. I didn't know I was so edgy, but I guess I am. At least when it's going to be $100+ a person.
Overall, Eve is a great place to spoil someone. The chocolate was printed with "Congratulations," and a little gift bag of take-home treats came out post-dessert. The sunflower motif and gorgeous, colorful, patterned chargers make you just feel happy. The pre-meal tastes and post-dessert cookies and bites were fun and welcome extras, and there were plenty. Mini macarons, white chocolate clusters, and a chocolate/butterscotch/brittle-type triangle were on that final tiered serving tray. I wanted them to be my end to every meal, forever.
My Totally Unscientific Tasting Menu Rankings
3. B&B Ristorante (does this count? It was all pasta...)
4. [Restaurant Eve, I think]
I liked and would recommend all of those Top 5, but it'll depend on the occasion and the audience. I loved B&B for the great pastas and some truly interesting (and delicious) flavors. My brother-in-law and sister had a less awesome B&B experience, where they felt like the pasta was the one thing they didn't love. To which my response was: WHAT?!?
Citronelle is an institution, and Chef Richard is a genius. It was also my first big tasting menu, so it has a special place in my heart. Komi is hands-down the most incredible meal I've ever eaten. But if you're not too adventurous, you may be better off at Volt or Eve. Not that Komi was so crazy, but you're bound to have plates that truly surprise you. I don't eat octopus and goat every day (but maybe I should).
Now I'll stop going on and on. Restaurant Eve is a wonderful restaurant, and I'm glad that I went. I just don't know how soon I'll be back. If I had to pick one of the above to go to tomorrow, I'd choose Komi.
110 South Pitt St
Metro: Blue or Yellow Line to King Street Metro