Monday, January 30, 2012


Where: Eva, 317 S Main Street, Salt Lake City

Who Went: Chelsey, Owen & Jarom (my brother-in-law, who also happens to be a vegetarian)

Number of Visits: 1

What We Ordered: Spanakopita with Spicy Feta & Balsamic, Spicy Chickpea Shells, Spinach & Potato Gnocchi, Greek Mac & Cheese baked in Phyllo Dough, & Chocolate Pots de Créme

What It Cost: $57.00 (including tip, for all 3 people)

What We Thought:

Friday afternoon, I went over to my friend Katie's house and helped her with her new little baby, Eva. As I was holding Eva and playing with her, I said, "Tonight I am going to eat at a restaurant named after you, baby Eva!" However, somehow, in her little baby mind (she's only 7 weeks folks), it must have gotten processed as "Tonight I am going to eat you baby Eva!" because her eyebrows got all scrunched up and she began to wail. Back to you mama Katie!

When we walked into Eva, I knew right away that it was a good pick. It had a dingy yellowish sign outside the unassuming front door, but once we stepped inside, it was bustling with servers rushing plates, laughing and chatty diners, and LOTS of people for its tiny square footage. It was clear that this was one of those trendy & hip places that not a lot of people know about (so exclusive), which always makes me a little wary to begin with (see Sammy's). We told the casually dressed hostess who came up to us that we needed a table for three, and she informed us that the wait would be between 45 minutes-1 hour, but that she would take our names & number down if we wanted to go grab drinks or something. Of course there would be no grabbing drinks for us, but we agreed to give her my number and she said she would call us when a table was available. 

This is where I would have done things differently. Instead of wandering outside in the cold with our measly jackets, we should have planned ahead and gone shopping at the Gateway or ice skating or something. There are loads of things to do nearby, but since we didn't really have a plan, we just kind of walked around for a while until our faces froze off and we decided to check back in with the restaurant. We kind of awkwardly stood in the way at the front of the restaurant (the entryway was only about 2 feet long) and it ended up being over and hour & a half until we were seated, but fortunately our stomachs were so frozen that we kind of had forgotten how hungry we were by 8:45....

We were seated at a table in the corner of the restaurant near the kitchen, where the overhead lamp light was burned out and it was all very dim. Normally I wouldn't really mind, except I was trying to take photos of the dishes and it was a little crammed. Our appetizer arrived quickly, and all complaints in our mind vanished.

I'm a huge Greek food lover -- we had Mediterranean fare at our wedding, and though my sister was so kind and thoughtful to grab a plate for me, apparently all of the spanakopita was already out before she could snag some for us. I knew we had to order it here so I could show Owen the wonderfulness of this flaky spinach-filled dish. The spanakopita served to us at Eva did not disappoint. The phyllo dough was crispy and flaky, perfectly enveloping a mixture of cooked flavorful spinach and spicy feta. An acidic balsamic glaze complemented the rich and warm flavors of the pastry's insides, and we couldn't get enough of it. Absolutely wonderful.

Jarom, my brother-in-law, was pleased to see all of the vegetarian options on the menu, and decided to go with the spicy chickpea dish with tomato sauce, basil, and cashew cream. The term spicy was no understatement -- this dish was hot! But the wonderful kind of hot, where it's surprisingly zippy while you are taking your bite, but your mouth isn't still burning after you finish your taste and it leaves you with a pleasant aftertaste. A unique and filling vegetarian dish that we would highly recommend -- Owen loved it so much, he finished what Jarom couldn't eat after wiping clean his own plate!

You're going to judge me for this one -- macaroni & cheese, Chelsey? Really? But lately I've had a craving for cheesy pasta that would not be satisfied with any ordinary boxed meal. This mac & cheese was mixed with fresh tomato, bacon and arugula, and was sandwiched between layers of perfectly crisped phyllo dough. Talk about comfort food to the most delightful extreme. Every bite was soft, warm, rich and inviting, and though I could feel the heavy cheese sauce adding inches to my waist with every luscious morsel, I couldn't stop myself. 

What? A dish that's not topped with chopped basil?? I know, you are shocked. Owen ordered the spinach & potato gnocchi that was served with parmesan, truffle oil, mushrooms, peas, and a white wine cheese sauce. "A flavor punch in the mouth" was how Owen described it. Though he personally found it a little too rich, I thought it was utterly decadent and perfect: soft pillowy gnocchi, smoky mushrooms that didn't make me want to gag (a big accomplishment), sweet crisp peas, vibrant green spinach, all mixed together with an intense and indulgent sauce. It doesn't really photograph well, but my was it delectable. 

 And to round out our meal, we sampled their chocolate pot de créme -- a perfect ending to our meal. The chocolate mousse base was thick, sweet, had the perfect consistency, and was rich enough to complement the light and fluffy cream on top. The fruit served along with it was dulcet and ripe, a perfect pairing. I was a little disappointed in the lack of flavor of the pistachio cookie in the center, but nothing could really ruin the purity of the chocolate base. I also would have preferred chopped mint rather than two leaves artfully placed, because although they look pretty, no one really wants a large mouthful of mint leaves.

What You Should Do: Go right now! But make sure to do it right -- have one person run into the restaurant and leave your name & number, and then go shopping or do something fun instead of wandering in the cold. There is a parking lot right across the street (be sure to bring cash for it, no cards accepted) so you'll be able to rush back when they call you, and you'll be able to enjoy your night of mouthwatering Mediterranean dishes!

Eva on Urbanspoon

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