Fine dining at its... well, finest!
As a fan of Holeman + Finch, it was almost odd that I hadn’t experienced Restaurant Eugene first, seeing as how RE came first, whereas H + F is the recent brainchild of 2010 James Beard Award nominee for best chef in the southeast, Chef Linton Hopkins. With an award nomination like that, the bar was set pretty high, and I was expecting to be wowed. Mission accomplished. RE is definitely more of a special occasion dining experience, and I couldn’t help but feel like a hybrid between Kate Spade and SATC’s Charlotte on my fancy night out on the town, being attended to by several different wait staff throughout the evening, and never having to ask for anything – refills, more bread, new silverware, everything just appeared without having to ever ask. But the food is the main reason you came, and you won’t be disappointed. While the menu is ever changing, in keeping with what’s fresh and current at the farmers markets and the season, highlights on my recent visit included Oysters from the west coast (the best coast for Oysters, by the way), braised pork belly, beet salad with a whipped goat cheese, soft shell crab (OMG moment!) and duck. Every dish had clever mixes of vegetables, fruits and sauces that were surprise combinations, and which all seemed to work seamlessly. For dessert, this notion rang true with a blend of sweet and savory. A goat cheese cake with graham cracker on the side, sweet onion relish turned jam, and braised baby carrots, and a peanut butter mousse with chocolate cake crumble, topped with candied bacon – After the last bite was consumed, I was actually disappointed the meal was at an end. And I’m already scheming for an excuse to return… Half birthdays count as a celebration, right?