Eola

Eola has been on my list of places to try for a long while. It’s always on The Washingtonian top places to eat, but more than that my friends have consistently given praises for this place. And to me, that’s the best testament. Eola is described as modern American cuisine and as having a “cozy and unpretentious interior.” I suppose it fits the bill in that regard – the restaurant was small and charming. We sat upstairs where the lighting was decent (not too dark, though I still needed a lot of flash for my photos), and the ambiance was relaxed and homey. It was also relatively quiet, which is a rarity in DC. The downstairs seemed a little louder but it was hard to tell from the foyer.

It seems like there’s some confusion on Yelp, but Eola only offers a pre-fixe menu, so make sure you’re prepared to spend $61-$65 on a five course meal. The $61 is for the vegetarian or the offal menus. $65 is for the standard menu. Aside from the few chef’s bites in the beginning, you get a choice of about four items each from appetizer, pasta, main course, and dessert courses. My friend and I tried to mix it up as much as possible so we could taste a wide range things. =)

Pictured above is my main course – the Border Springs Farm lamb roast with farro, mustard greens, turnips and long lamb’s jus. I had it done medium rare, so it came out quite juicy and tender. I thought it was very good! I don’t think there was anything particularly remarkable about this dish, but was definitely satisfying. I liked the texture of the farro and the slightly tangy mustard greens.

The rest:


After we ordered, we got a bread basket with a side of lemon rosemary butter. I always love it when they include a special kind of butter with the bread. The butter was cold though, which was fine except…I love it when restaurants put in that extra thought to make butter a spreadable temperature.

First of the chef’s little bites was a plate of root veggie chips. Loved these! Very light and crispy, and full of flavor. Kind of like those exotic chips you get at Whole Foods, except more delicate.

Kumamoto oysters with orange, micro greens and creme fraiche. This was a little disappointing because it basically had no flavor. There was no briny saltiness I expect from oysters, and no citrus zest from the orange. Loved the presentation, though.

Confit of pig’s heart. I’d never had heart before, so there was a short hesitation for me before I put this in my mouth. It wasn’t bad, though I’m not rushing to try more pig’s hearts as result of it. It was tender, salty and not too scary.

Some kind of cheese (I didn’t jot it down) between a pastry of some kind (also didn’t write it down). The cheese had a kind of peppery kick to it, which was nice to wake up the taste buds.

Celeriac consomme with black olive oil. This was delicious! I was wary at first because it just looked like a shot of oil, but it was very subtle and smooth. I could have a bowl of this stuff!

Okay, I have to take a moment here to laugh at the person on Yelp who complained about the size of the portions for the chef’s bites. An amuse bouche is supposed to be one bite. Reading such whining reminded me of when I used to work as a barista and one ignorant customer berated our staff for daring to serve them espresso in such a small portion. Honestly, I wish people would understand what they’re ordering before complaining about being ripped off!

My friend’s appetizer: confit of Cedarbrook Farm pork belly with sunchoke, fermented radish puree, forbidden rice, mushroom glaze. I had a bite of this and it was delicious! I didn’t even notice the fermented radish puree, which I was certain would be overpowering. The pork belly was extremely fatty though.

Country style pork sausage with cannellini beans, swiss chard and long jus, my appetizer course. I liked it! The beans complimented it nicely, a softer texture and dripping in the jus.

Hand cut tagliatelle with beef cheeks, onion, potato and parmesan. This was good too, but just a little on the salty side for me. It was also very rich, as though it was cooked in butter. I think the portion size was good, considering the heaviness of the dish. (We both got this one, so no second pasta course picture!)

My friend’s main course: Pacific fluke with wheat berries, cauliflower puree, spicy apple-celeriac remoulade, and cumin froth. I’ve never been a fan of “froth” and this dish didn’t change my mind about it. It’s just kind of airy and pretentious and doesn’t add anything special texturally to the dish. I think sometimes it can be a nice thing to taste but I usually just prefer it be in a sauce or something. Only had a bite of this, and I thought it was good…nothing wild and amazing.

My friend’s dessert: rose scented panna cotta with stewed and candied citrus zest, powdered rose and cayenne glass. I liked the panna cotta! It was most certainly rose, which was intriguing. The cayenne glass was spicy (my friend thought maybe too spicy?) and the rose powder was very strong and kind of bizarre. I think it was an interesting concept, but there was way too much of it on the plate.

My dessert: steamed meyer lemon ginger pudding with boubon anglaise, clove chantilly. Lovely! I liked this one a lot. The pudding had a soft cake like consistency and it paired well with the anglaise (wish there was more of it). The chantilly was smooth and fab.

In all, a very good meal and I would most certainly be back again in the future when the menu changes. (And I understand it changes frequently).

One last thing though before I finish: If you ever come here on a busy night, make sure you eat up your courses within 3 hours. My friend and I overstayed our 3 hours by just a few minutes and the floor manager came by to kick us out! I was a bit gobsmacked, to be honest. On the one hand, I do understand that they need to turn the tables around, but…when I end up spending close to $100 on a dinner (includes one drink, tax and tip), I don’t expect to be kicked out of the place before I’m ready to go! I thought it was extremely tacky of them. And to think, when the manager stopped by, I initially thought it was to thank us for coming. Hahah! Boy, was I wrong…

Amazing pictures! I especially love the root vegetable chips. They’re one of my favourite snacks, and they’re always fun. :)

 

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