An Early Look at Eola
Reviewed By Gwendolyn Purdom
Comments () | Published October 23, 2009
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Address: 2020 P St., NW, Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-466-4441
Neighborhood: Dupont Circle, Downtown
Cuisines: Modern, American
Opening Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 5:30 to 10:30.
Nearby Metro Stops: Dupont Circle, Farragut West
Price Range: Expensive
Dress: Upscale Casual
Noise Level: N/A
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Pork croquettes; chicken-fried tongue; sunchoke velouté; agnolotti with bitter greens; tagliatelle with braised duck; quail ravioli; roasted pheasant with deviled eggs, spaetzle, and olives; pork jowl; braised veal breast; mocha-chestnut roulade; corn pan
Price Details: Starters, $9 to $12; main courses, $24 to $32.
Photograph by Chris Leaman.

It’s only fitting that leaves play a decorative role in chef Daniel Singhofen’s rustic Dupont Circle dining room, Eola. The foliage that twists around light fixtures and tabletop candles is right in line with the restaurant’s fresh-picked ethos and ever-changing menu. It’s a familiar formula: The restaurant works closely with local co-ops, and as the available produce shifts, so do Eola’s dishes.

The eatery is situated on a stretch of P Street, Northwest, just off Dupont Circle. Sounds prime, but it’s a risky spot where restaurants seemingly open and close with the seasons—Eola’s home is the renovated rowhouse that until this summer held Mark and Orlando’s, and the street has said goodbye to Café Tropé and Montsouris. Still, Singhofen, a Florida native, has high hopes for his first restaurant.

Before he opened his own place, Singhofen honed his skills working as a sous chef in Orlando and briefly in the kitchen of the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida. Here, he’s teaming up with sous chef Brian Wilson, who polished his resume at Palena and 2941.

“We try to make our menu as vague as possible so we have a little license to play,” Singhofen says. The bitter greens that went with a Saturday entrée of agnolotti with sunflower seeds, garlic confit, aged pecorino, and brioche are reworked into the nettle ravioli on Tuesday’s menu. Saturday’s duo of Duroc pork with fingerlings, summer squash, and smoky jus is tweaked on Tuesday to include a summer-squash-and-truffle gratin. Desserts include chocolate crunch cake with hazelnut and a trio of apple tartlets with a red-wine-poached pear and apple-cider granité.

The restaurant offers about 100 labels of wine, a cocktail menu, and an eclectic list of a dozen bottled beers such as North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner and Founders Dragonmilk Stout.

The dark oak tables in the cozy, yellow-painted first-floor dining room seat 26 and are reservation-only. Upstairs has a homier feel with long communal tables and photographs by Singhofen’s father. One series depicts the maple-syrup bottling process at a Pennsylvania farm. A mosaic of photos shows the road from Key West to DC—“where I come from and where I am,” Singhofen says.

Open Tuesday through Saturday 5:30 to 10:30.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 10/23/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Restaurant Reviews