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Restaurant Eve Quandary

My wife and I were given a $250 gift certificate to Restaurant Eve, which was a great gift because we have never been but had always wanted to try. But our question is this:

Should we go to The Tasting Room, knowing full well it'll likely be an additional $200 after wine, tax, and tip? Or, should we go to The Bistro and order whatever we want in addition to a really nice bottle of wine?

A good problem to have, but still.

Other info (and I hesitate to mention this): we have tried several tasting menus, and almost to a restaurant they were underwhelming and, in our opinion, overpriced. They can also be exhausting. BUT, we would be down for another if the consensus is that Eve is definitely worth it. I know - four stars from Seitsema, yada yada yada, but give us your honest take.

I mean, $200 is a new iPhone 3G...

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  1. A friend and I had a lovely meal in the Bistro and based on that good experience, she had a family celebration for 7 in the Tasting Room and was VERY disappointed with both the food and service; especially the service.

    I'd definitely go with the Bistro.

    1. Some people just don't do well with tasting rooms, I personally love them, I like the small bites of all sorts of stuff. Fiance isn't a big tasting menu fan all the time. He likes it when the have some choice so he can avoid shellfish and pistachios and etc. But he likes some of them when he is feeling adventurous and I really want to, but he likes being able to choose from a couple tasting menus. If you tend not to like tasting menus why gear yourself up for that? You could taste a lot of different things at the bistro and get some tastey cocktails (you can get wine, but you have to get at least one Todd Thrasher cocktail, really, you do, or you should, really should). I have had a couple great meals in the bistro, I haven't gotten to go to the tasting room, yet, and still really like it.

      1. I once read the chef characterize his food this way: Tasting Room food is very feminine with lots of precision and labor-intensive emphasis on execution. The Bistro Room food is masculine with big, bold flavors. (On the basis of one visit to the Tasting Room and one visit to the Bistro, I'd say that is a very reaonsable appraisal.)

        Cost aside, using that description, does one appeal to you more than the other?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Indy 67

          I'd go for the Bistro. The Tasting menu was overall good when I went there the one time I went. But there were precious few wow moments and some middling offerings. And, overall, several things came out tasting too sweet. Overpriced as a result from my perspective. Their wine list is almost prohibitively expensive too. And you can't BYOW in Virginia, which is too bad.


          1. re: Pool Boy

            I have eaten in the tasting room and found everything to be excellent. The problem with tasting menus, as many people point out on chowhound, is that there will be a miss for you, inevitably. By the sheer volume and variety of what is produced, not everything is going to appeal to your specific palate. However, the staff at Eve I found to be very accommodating; willing to switch out items at our request for others. Personally, I had a wonderful experience. If you are a diner that doesn't like to linger, the bistro may be for you; but if you are a diner that likes a long, leisurely-paced dinner, the tasting room would be an excellent choice.

            When you are there, please ask specifically for Todd Thrasher to pair wine or a cocktail to your meal. He is fantastic, and incredibly interesting to talk to if he has a few minutes. I found that although some wines on the Eve wine list were very expensive, there were many reasonable choices and if you remind Todd or your server that you are looking for a more reasonable wine, they will gladly point you in that direction. Hope you enjoy your meal. Let us know how it goes

        2. I personally would go for the tasting room, despite the extra charge. I think they do the second best tasting menu in the area, behind CityZen, but you cannot go wrong either way. You are going to get impeccably prepared food using extremely fresh, high quality ingredients.

          1. Based on a friend's experience where the tasting room bill for 4 came to $850 and they all left hungry and sober, I would go to the bistro.

            3 Replies
            1. re: beanodc

              Ouch! If that doesn't answer your question, GyroBall, I don't know what does.

              1. re: Meg

                Spending that much for dinner is just totally beyond my conception, unless I'm on death row and it's my last mean (and the state is picking up the tab). I know that for some people, the cost of a great meal is no obstacle, but most of us, I hope, are more practical even when being adventurous.

                With $250 in hand, I'd go for the Bistro, maybe take a couple of friends, and get a bottle of modest wine, or maybe two.

              2. re: beanodc

                I went to Alinea a couple of weeks ago. 3 people, 2 wine pairings, tax and tip was $880. Tasting menu isn't about value, nor should you expect every dish to taste great because they won't. It's about whether you want to try something out of the ordinary given the cost. Would I go back to Alinea? Probably not for a long long time but I will not be happy if I had the chance to go and didn't.

                I have reservation for the tasting room at Eve in August.

              3. Actually, when you factor in the 2-year service plan and a $80 a month bill, an iPhone is closer to $2,000.

                I've never gone wrong with either bistro or tasting room. If you haven't tried the tasting room, I'd recommend the five course over the nine course. More cost-effective and not as exhausting. Also, temper your expectations and don't expect every mouthful to be orgasmic. I think a lot of people are disappointed when they go to Eve expecting some sort of religious experience. Or Cheesecake Factory portions. And don't order the steak; they put that there because they have to, not because it's particularly good. Much better off with braises or seafood or fois gras or sweetbreads. If you want a steak, go elsewhere.

                Definitely get a cocktail. The pickle martini and new age gibson are excellent, as is the bloody mary made with tomato "water."

                1. I ate there last summer--totally disappointing! Don't plan on having to spend more that the certificate and get ready to get ice cream elsewhere when you're still hungry after your meal!

                  1. Wherever you end up please report back. I've only been to the Bistro and had a less than stellar experience (mainly service related). So I'm anxious to hear about your first visit and hopeful that it will be memorable...in the good way.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Meg

                      Everyone: thank you for your ideas and input. Like you may have guessed, my wife and I went in with a bias towards the Bistro, and you all helped confirm our decision. Ultimately, it came down to price and pacing. It'll be exciting to go and know that we can order anything on the menu and a $100 bottle of wine, dessert included, and probably not top the gift certificate amount.

                      When we left Vetri in Philly $475 poorer after a 3 hour Saturday tasting, I was a little grumpy. I don't want to feel that way again.

                      I will definitely report back!

                      1. re: GyroBall

                        I've never looked at tasting menus as the sort of thing to get filled up on. It's not a "filling" menu, it's just tasting. But yeah, $475 could buy you a catered affair for a bunch of friends and you'd have enough leftovers to last a week. It's all about what you're looking to accomplish.

                        Still think Eve's tasting menu is a great deal, compared to the NYC equivalent.