Friday, October 09, 2009
Eva Restaurant: A lovelier shade of pale
Prelude: Like S. Irene, I visited Eva recently. Hers wasn't a full review -- neither is this, since I only had lunch. But overall I'd say she liked it a bit more than I did.
What's for lunch? I have a friend who goes out often at night, so the rest of the time he likes to stay basically within two blocks of his house. Luckily for him, this area encompasses Grace, BLD, Terroni, Kokomo and plenty more choices. He suggested we try the $19 three course prix fixe lunch at the fairly new Eva Restaurant, since it falls within his prescribed area. The chef-owner of Eva is Mark Gold -- not Jonathan Gold's brother, who heads up Heal the Bay, but the Mark Gold who was chef at Leatherby's Cafe Rouge. Gold is a genial fellow and lovely host, who enthusiastically deposits creamy Barhi dates on your table while you're eating, carts out a box of lettuces fresh from the morning's farmer's market and waxes eloquently about his lovely squash.
The tightly-edited lunch menu is similar to the dinner menu, with a somewhat austere Asian feel, mirroring the minimalist interior 0f the former Hatfield's cottage. Maybe it was a quirk of what we ordered, or maybe I'm just used to more assertive flavors, but all three of our dishes were creamy and just a bit pale. I started with burrata ravioli with corn milk and summer truffle; delicate but a little bland. Black cod with seawater glaze and liquid potatoes was the best of the three: sophisticated and beautifully-cooked, topped with house-made raisins that were fun to nibble on. I tried some of my friend's linguini and clams with bacon, but I'm not sure I'm convinced that udon noodles work well in this dish. For dessert, we had pristinely fresh cantaloupe and several cheeses including the prizewinning Rogue River blue.
The lunch menu is a good way to sample Gold's delicate, attentive cooking at a reasonable price, but after seeing other blogger's reports of the Sunday night family-style dinners, what I really wanted was that platter of fried chicken and bowl of creamed corn that My Last Bite wrote about.
Eva is both cozy and elegant, and I'd certainly go back for Sunday dinner, which seems like a good deal for $35 including wine. I'll just be sure to mix in some more colorful dishes next time.
7458 Beverly Blvd.