January 2007: 100 Very Best Restaurants
Cathal Armstrong's seasonal cooking shines in this stylish bar, bistro, and tasting room.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli
Comments () | Published January 18, 2007
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Restaurant Eve
Address: 110 South Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA
Phone: 703-706-0450
Neighborhood: Alexandria, Alexandria, Old Town
Cuisines: Modern, English/Irish/Scottish, American
Opening Hours: Open for lunch Monday through Friday, 11:30 to 2:30. Open for dinner Monday through Thursday 5:30 to 10, Friday and Saturday 5:30 to 11.
Nearby Metro Stops: King Street-Old Town
Price Range: Very expensive
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Papri chaat; lobster bisque; crab bisque; bacon-egg-and-cheese salad; bouillabaisse packed with cod and clams; charcuterie; any foie gras preparation; tarte Tatin; Eve’s Temptation cocktail.
Price Details: Bistro entrees, $25 to $35. Tasting room menus, $85 and $110. Weekday Lickity-Split lunch menu (in the bar), $13.50.

No. 6: Restaurant Eve 

In the past two years, chef Cathal Armstrong and Meshelle Armstrong have upped Alexandria’s restaurant/nightlife profile with the playful and delicious Restaurant Eve. More recently, they’ve added the irreverent Eamonn’s with the cocktail-and-nibble lounge, PX, above it. And the empire continues to expand: The Armstrongs are adding a dining room downstairs and a bar and lounge upstairs.

You’d think that running two extra businesses plus overseeing a remodeling might sap energy from the flagship, but Eve is as exuberant as ever. Armstrong’s sourcing from local farms is impeccable, and if he can make it himself, he will.

House-made charcuterie, ballotine of free-range chicken, confit of house-cured pork belly—all are labor intensive, and all are on Restaurant Eve’s Bistro menu. Other highlights include bacon, egg, and cheese salad, crisp Muscovy duck leg with lentils, Casco Bay cod “clam chowder,” and buttermilk panna cotta.

In the serene Tasting Room, Armstrong stretches out with complex, thoughtful cooking that knits together his Irish upbringing, his French training, and his grasp of the American culinary moment. None of it feels stagey. You can move from a Cashel bleu cheese with brown bread and smoked-ham vinaigrette to a Jerusalem-artichoke velouté with black truffles to a butter-poached Maine lobster with ginger to a molten-chocolate caramel cake without thinking about the array of influences you’ve just passed through.

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Posted at 02:00 PM/ET, 01/18/2007 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews