Thursday, August 27, 2009

Quick Bites: Restaurant Eugene

I've long been a huge fan of Holeman and Finch. Fried oysters and cocktails and burgers oh my! But I'd always shied away from the sister restaurant, Eugene, because I worried it was too fancy to go to on just any old night. Last night, little brother's birthday dinner was finally a perfect excuse to try it out.

The restaurant is indeed pretty upscale feeling with most diners looking like they were there on an expense account. But the staff was friendly and gracious, so it wasn't stuffy even if it wasn't relaxed.

Alas in the midst of house hunting, we forgot to bring our camera, so I have no pics to share, so I'll just have to paint you a little picture...

The cocktails are of the old school, but still creative variety, served up by a bartender wearing suspenders (his own look or an nod to old school cocktail authenticity?) I wasn't feeling the cocktail vibe last night, despite his stylish duds, so I stuck to their well chosen, interesting wine list, and enjoyed a glass of Zinfandel.

The portions are small and the prices are on the high side, although from what I've heard Restaurant Eugene has reduced their prices as of late in line with shrinking wallets. The big winners of the night were the sweet corn tortellini with shiitake mushrooms and a fall apart tender short rib. Both were just large enough for a bite or two shared among three people but oh so delicious.

I loved the texture of the crispy kale with bacon and buttermilk dressing. Befitting of its name, it had the most wonderful crackle to it, and my feelings about bacon are well documented here! Veal sweetbreads were also tender and flavorful and so much better than they bland, chewy little glands served are at most restaurants.

For dessert, the most intriguing dish was a basil crème brûlée, although the guys swore it had some sort of meaty quality. The warm, chewy churros served alongside were both more familiar and more delicious. Among the chocolate delights on hand, a shot glass of white chocolate souffle was my favorite and gone all too quickly.

All in all, I thought the service and food were impeccable. However, I would caution you not to go with a giant appetite. The guys were still hungry when we finished, but everyone loved what they ate. With portion sizes so small, though, even the entree sized short rib for $28 wouldn't fill one person. I can certainly see, though, why Chef Linton Hopkins is the food world's Georgia darling. The food is high class, creative and most importantly delish!

Since I can't offer pictures, I will provide a little bonus - Chef Hopkins recipe for Bucatini Carbonara. Sounds yummy and FILLING!

Restaurant Eugene on Urbanspoon



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