3165 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA
I've drank and dined on Eventide's rooftop patio, but I've never had the chance to sit down to a meal inside. So when the opportunity came up to nab an Eventide Groupon (spend $20, get $40 worth of credit), I bought immediately. Then I promptly forgot about it until it neared its expiration ... thankfully, some quick action on OpenTable snagged us a last-minute Wednesday night table - one day before the Groupon expired.
Note: That day, I learned, courtesy of Tom Sietsema in the WashPo, that Eventide chefs Miles Vaden and Justus Frank were leaving at the end of the week. So we snuck in just in time ... Vaden and Frank are leaving for a new Washington restaurant that has yet to announce its opening. In their absence. chef duties will be performed by Kinkead's Jerry Cousson.
The hubs and I scored a nice corner table in the main dining room. We started with a couple of glasses of Tempranillo, which wasn't as full-bodied as we had hoped (actually, it was pretty weak. Shame). Then it was on to a half-dozen Oysters on the Half Shell ($13). While not as amazing as Kushi's, the oysters were pleasant. A good size, a nice semi-sweet taste. My favorite part was the champagne mignonette ... crisp with a nice vinegary bite, I wanted a side of it for my own.
I followed up the appetizer with Virginia Rockfish ($27) served atop farro, wilted watercress and very thinly sliced baby beets. The dish was topped with a Meyer lemon buerre blanc sauce. The fish itself was OK - really nothing to write home about. The citrus lemon cause was delicious and perfectly balanced. I had to restrain myself from scooping up huge bites of the farro soaked in the sauce.
Speaking of, what is farro? Pronounced "FAHR-oh," farro is an Italian grain similar to the ancient grains quinoa and amaranth. It looks like barley, and any Google search will instantly turn up the fun fact that it was used to feed the Italian Legions. Huh.
The hubs went for the Meyer Ranch All-Natural Beef Tenderloin ($34). The meat was tasty, and topped with an ancho steak sauce that seemed to be sans ancho chilies. Hm. There was creamed Swiss chard, which seemed more sauteed and less "creamed," and a little square cocotte of duck fat-fried yucca root. This was pretty fantastic - it looked like macaroni and cheese, but was full of creamy yucca chunks. Delicious!
We liked the decor, which was trendy without being overdone - think urban industrial with chandeliers, white linens and padded chairs. The service was nice and steady - we never felt lost in the corner.
So in short - Eventide was tasty on the condition that we had a Groupon. If I had gone in and paid full price, I think I would have been disappointed. Why? Well, the wine was weak. The fish was not outstanding - I would rather take my $27 and go to BlackSalt, where I would be guaranteed an amazing piece of fish. The steak was good, but again, not great.
So yes - a good Groupon meal. But go again and pay full price? Nah. I'll stick to the rooftop patio.