Monday, June 2, 2008

First Look: Restaurant Eve

I'd like to think that there's a silver lining to almost everything. Beginning my second week of unemployment, I decided to take advantage of a near perfect day and do what I've wanted to do for a long time now: head down to Restaurant Eve for their Lickity Split menu.

I've walked by Eve a number of times, always almost afraid to enter through a facade that looks like the entrance to a culinary Narnia. But today was different, it's amazing what a $13.50 lunch special can do for one's confidence.

I don't know if you can only do Lickity Split at the bar, but that's where my friend and I ended up sitting. Unassuming yet classy, Eve's bar strikes the right balance between formal and casual.

Arriving a little after 1pm, we found the bar a little over half full, and had no trouble grabbing a seat. Just a warning, the name "Lickity Split" is a bit misleading. While the service is friendly, it was a bit slow (we were in and out in about an hour and a half), and I honestly think the best way to approach this lunch is to take your time with it.

The way Lickity Split works is, you pay $13.50 and you get to choose two items off the menu. This could include a glass of wine and a beer, or in my case, a beet, goat cheese and walnut salad and Irish "BLT" with house made chips.

Before your first course arrivals you'll be treated to a nice piece of fresh bread and proper butter - room temperature and easily spreadable. You'll get one piece at a time, but don't worry, you'll be able to ask for seconds.

My first dish, the beet salad, was perfectly executed. Beet salads are a pretty common item on menus now, and normally what you'll see are deep red beets from a can, sliced thin. These beets were more of a pink color and sliced thick (I'm assuming, based on Eve's reputation, that these were fresh beets that were locally sourced). The salad that came with it was a little soggier than I normally like my greens, but in all, the quality of the beets, cheese and walnuts more than made up for it.

The second course consisted of an Irish BLT, which was Irish bacon, lettuce and tomato that was cooked somehow. I would have preferred lettuce with a bit more of a crunch to it, but this was more than made up by the buttery toasted bread and the quality of the bacon.

While the Lickity Split menu is only a fraction of what Eve is capable of, it's easy to see why it has gotten the praise it has. You might not be able to afford Eve's tasting menu, or even a night out at the bistro, but one stop over at the bar for lunch, and you'll be singing the Armstrong's praises, lickity split.

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