Monday, April 21, 2008

Preview: Eventide Restaurant

“I just thought about what my friends and I wanted from a bar and restaurant and made it.”

It’s a simple statement, one that we’ve all thought about in the theoretical sense, and one that most of us will never even come close to acting upon.

But most of us aren’t Dave Pressley; most of us haven’t opened up restaurants like Clarendon Grill and Tallula, and most of us haven’t worked under uber chefs like Robert Weidmaier.

Pressley has paid his dues as a restaurant manager and chef and now looks to make his mark in the blossoming area of Clarendon. Accompanying Pressley are Pete Pflug and Nick Langman who are handling such details as the funding and the design of Eventide, and together with Pressley have created the vision behind the restaurant.

The location could hardly be better; across the street from a busy metro stop, in the middle of a growing Orange Line corridor, filled with youngsters and families looking for something beyond Cheesecake Factory or Harry’s Tap Room for a nice dinner, or a place to score drinks after a hard day’s work.

This is a location that has seen two major restaurants, Liberty Tavern and Restaurant 3 open in the past year, a location that Pressley feels has room for more.

While you’ll see a familiar contemporary American menu (which will be formally announced come May when his chef officially starts), Pressley tells me that his aim is to provide a downtown DC dining experience a bit closer to home for those who live in Arlington.

The ingredients will be, “the best available”, and the menu will change to reflect everything from what’s in season to the weather outside. It doesn’t make any sense, says Pressley, to serve a slew of cold salads on a freezing cold day, when most people want a nice warm bowl of soup.

While we won’t be able to officially determine whether or not the menu itself is enough to give Eventide the edge over its neighbors (it won’t be solidified until Summer), the atmosphere created by the way the space will be used will most certainly make an impression on guests. It is this atmosphere that Pressley hopes will put people in seats and keep them coming back.

The first floor will consist of a large bar area and about twenty tables for those who want to order off the bar menu, which Pressley states will most likely consist of “middle sized plates”, which will be bigger than an appetizer, yet smaller than an entrée.

The bar itself will be very much cocktail based, and will even be designed with bulges on the ends and in the middle to allow groups of three or four to actually look at each other and hold a conversation – a novel idea considering that most bars become “no-conversation zones”.

Heading up to the second level and the roof and you’ll see what’s going to set this restaurant a part from everything else in the area.

The second floor is very open, with high ceilings, large windows, and old brick walls that give the room a certain rustic charm. Pressley plans to section off the back portion into three sections with heavy curtains for private dining areas for about a dozen people each.

The menu for the second floor will be more formal than the one on the first, though you’ll still be able to order from either menu from wherever you sit

Taking a jaunt up to the roof, and you’ll get a peek at what will be the busiest part of Eventide. With a great view all the way down the Wilson Blvd. corridor and even a glimpse of the U.S. Capital and Washington Monument, the roof will be the first choice for anyone on a nice summer day. The roof will be split up into a bar area and a sectioned off sit down eating area, so those who want a nice quiet place to eat won’t have to contend with the rowdy masses.

It’s this versatility, both on the roof and on the two floors below that is Eventide’s strength. While it’s yet to be seen if their menu can truly set it apart from others in the area, this restaurant is already serving up some winning ideas. You’ll probably never open up a restaurant to fit your needs, but if Eventide lives up to its promise, you probably won’t have to.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I didn't think I could get more excited about Eventide's opening! Brilliant menu ideas, I can't wait to see what the Chef will devise. How fabulous (and thank god) that there will be options beyond Cheesecake and Harry's. Thanks for posting!