Step past the gate and walk down the alley to Alexandria’s newest dining experience, Restaurant Eve. Thirteen months and two weeks after renovations began at 110 S. Pitt Street, Eve’s doors opened for business last Monday evening.
Restaurant Eve is in an old building that once housed other restaurants and features a courtyard. The location was always a favorite place for dining, due to the quaint atmosphere.
The fare is modern American with influences of classic French. Chef and co-owner Cathal Armstrong, described his philosphy in cooking, saying, “When you cook, you always cook for yourself first. The menu uses the freshest supply of local indigenous produce available and is prepared in the French tradition.
“The lamb comes from Pennsylvania, the beef from Virginia, Rockfish from the local waters, berries from the Rappahannock Berry Farm and the York Farm in Westmoreland County grows much of the vegetables that we use.”
A native of Dublin, Ireland, Armstrong, then 16, took a part-time job in a friend’s restaurant while attending school. He moved out of the kitchen and onto the floor as a waiter only to return to the kitchen as a cook when someone called in sick. Later traveling to Europe, Armstrong took jobs in restaurants in Paris, Amsterdam and London, gathering knowledge and experience with many new products and cooking techniques.
He traveled to the United States and worked through a variety of restaurants starting with Murphy’s Irish Pub and onto New Heights, Cities, Gabriel, Vidalia and concluding with Bistro Bis in Washington, D.C., where he was chef for six years.
RESTAURANT EVE is owned by Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong. The restaurant features three dining menus. The Bistro lunch menu includes such offerings as Maryland crabcakes with radish, mache and remoulade; house cured salmon and brown bread with shaved fennel, navel orange and cilantro; salt baked prawns with pea shoots, spring onion and paprika aioli.
Armstrong described this menu as “more rustic fare, loaded with flavor" and completes the restaurant setting of open bricks and vaulted skylights.
Osborne Mackey shared his Monday dining experience. “We dined on crabcakes followed by wild Scottish salmon, with braised ramps and oyster mushrooms. The Scottish salmon was superb and the delicate taste of the ramps (newly discovered wild onion from the mountains of West Virginia) was a perfect compliment.
"To finish off the meal we had coffee. We inquired how it could be so delicious and were told that the coffee is locally roasted daily before being brewed.”
The bar menu, which comes online this week will be serving food such as poached mussels with tomato, garlic and fennel; grilled grafton cheddar and jamon sandwich; oysters on the half shell with corriander mignonette; charcuterie - selection of terrines and sausages, cheese board-artisinal cheeses with dried fruits and crisp fried potatoes with aioli.
AND SAVING THE best for last, The Chef’s Tasting Room, a 32-seat silver service fine dining room offers a five or nine course “Prix Fixe” lunch and dinner menu for private and/or special occasion dining. Long-time friend and restaurant investor, Jack Lynch, remembers ‘discovering’ Cathal and his cooking about six years ago at Bistro Bis.
“I was in town and having lunch with the assistant dean at Georgetown Law School. My wife and I later hosted a tasting dinner at Bis for five couples. Everyone fell in love with the food. One thing led to another and then to Eve.”
The five courses include an appetizer, fish, meat, cheese and dessert course. The menus are recreated daily.
The walls at Eve are adorned with a vibrant and imaginative selection of “food art.” The tasting room features the work of local artist Marime Hooff and many of her “farmers market” series. The art work as well as the restaurant design was chosen by co-owner Meshelle Armstrong.
The interior was enlarged, enclosed and refurbished by local contractor Bill Malin.
IF YOU'RE GOING
Restaurant Eve is located at 110 South Pitt Street, Alexandria. The bistro and bar are open Monday through Saturday for lunch at 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and for dinner from 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
The Chef’s Tasting Room is serving Tuesday through Saturday; lunch at 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
For reservations, call 703-706-0450 or visit www.restauranteve.com.