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Eola, West Dupont Circle - Chef Dan Singhofen's Offal Tasting Menus :-) on 20th and P Streets - Closed Aug 31, 2013


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Eola - well, well, well, another major player bursts onto the scene, this restaurant needs to be taken very seriously, beautiful renovation upstairs, terrific cooking

I`d like to get everybodys attention to Eola.

My first visit was last night (with my wife) and it was awesome.

We had the tasting menu which is 6 courses and asked if they can do 2 different menus for us so we sample more of the food and they did. I noticed some of the food on the menu but most of them was created by Chef Daniel Singhofen on the spot. Overall we had a very nice, calm and relaxed dinner. The best course for me was a `sous vide rabbit` and apple sorbet was excellent. The rest of the meal was very good as well.

From a tiny kitchen Chef can put out great food. Service was excellent provided by Dan.

I believe once they settle in more they will have a very successful restaurant.

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I`d like to get everybodys attention to Eola.

My first visit was last night (with my wife) and it was awesome.

We had the tasting menu which is 6 courses and asked if they can do 2 different menus for us so we sample more of the food and they did. I noticed some of the food on the menu but most of them was created by Chef Daniel Singhofen on the spot. Overall we had a very nice, calm and relaxed dinner. The best course for me was a `sous vide rabbit` and apple sorbet was excellent. The rest of the meal was very good as well.

From a tiny kitchen Chef can put out great food. Service was excellent provided by Dan.

I believe once they settle in more they will have a very successful restaurant.

Concur. At least until the neighborhood finds out about it, it's a very serene oasis, with excellent food from a kitchen dedicated to the farm-to-table ethos. Had several of the appetizers last night -- all successful; the pork belly and the salsify a great way to welcome Fall. The breads are excellent, too -- and the dessert twist on PB&J (really). Eager to return for the tasting menu; apparently the Chef changes it up on a daily basis. Go now, before the crowds come (which could be as soon as Wednesday).

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I must agree, had the tasting menu the first week they opened and throughly enjoyed. Full disclosure, I know Scott (GM) and Dan (server) personally, both true professionals. The kitchen has everything needed to do great things, focus, passion and willingness to listen to constructive criticism. If this is the starting point......WOW. The first floor filled while we were there, not sure about upstairs. Definitely worth a visit, and since I've not seen/heard any PR (other than here of course) I'm sure all involved in the project would welcome the business. Hmmm will take my own advice and make an appearance later this week.

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Eola quitely opened its doors two months ago and this Tuesday we're happy to participate in the Taste of Dupont from 6 to 9. Our Taste Offering includes two courses:

A Savory Course of Pork Tortellini with Squash Fondue

A Sweet Course of Opera Cake

Individual tasting tickets include both courses and can be purchased for only $5 at the Dupont Resource Center (9 Dupont Circle NW) beginning at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday and redeemed at Eola. For those of you who have not been to Eola yet, this is really an inexpensive way to see what we’re up to.

We will also introduce Happy Hour at Eola this Wednesday and Thursday (November 18th and 19th) from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. upstairs, with $5 beers, featured wines and new cocktails at special prices. We will also feature a Blind Pour which will be revealed Friday on our website. Details can be found at www.eoladc.com.

Thank you and we hope you can join us for the Taste of Dupont and Happy Hour at Eola.

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Eola is on my radar screen. Please tell me what are the best dishes.....I'll eat anything, the more unique the better.

Ericandblueboy,

First let me disclose that I am chef/owner Daniel Singhofen's father, so I have familial, emotional and financial interests in Eola and am clearly biased. Consequently, I'll leave my opinions and recommendations at the doorstep and try to just provide information. I have been working with Dan on photos of his food and he's asked me to put a few recent examples out here that might help you visualize what he's up to. His menus change frequently (almost daily), so it's best to check the website www.eoladc.com to find the latest. We try to keep the starters, entrees and desserts updated, but sometimes the menu isn't set until late afternoon so it might be a day or so behind. If you have specific questions, just PM Dan and I'm sure he'd be happy to answer them. Also, he can probably give you a heads up as to what might be coming out and when because he always has something in brine or curing or he might be expecting something from his purveyors/farmers. Here are the photos - hopefully they'll be centered with the captions.

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Pork Heart Confit

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Chicken Fried Tongue

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Pheasant Breast

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Pork Jowl

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Coddled Farm Egg, Steelhead Roe, Braised Black Truffle

If for some reason the photos don't show up, you can also get to them here.

Peter Singhofen

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The food we ordered were remarkable. 4 out of 5 dishes were fantastic. One wasn't but I'll explain why later.

Chicken Fried Tongue, Artic Char, duck confit, guinea hen - perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned. The tongue was soft and luscious, how you make tongue meltingly soft, I don't know but that's how it was. Arctic Char with fish roe, really brought out the flavor of the fish. Confit - just delicious (but it's duck confit, you don't need to order it here because it's t not unique). Guinea hen - flavorful and juicy.

The one dish that wasn't great was a pan seared monkfish. I'm not entirely sure how you can make a pan seared filet of fish really tasty. I personally have never had any that I considered really good. So the one dish I didn't like is a dish I never liked anywhere. I like whole fish, with head and tail....but that's just me. Even so, the fish was cooked nicely.

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The amuse was the pork heart - delicious. Not even the best beef anticuchos I've ever had is better (but I only eat hearts when I have my Indiana Jones hat and whip).

Based on the food we had, this is one of the top 10 high end American joints in DC to me (although it wasn't very expensive, $85 for 6 courses and drinks before tip). But with a small menu (6 apps and 6 entrees), I urge everyone to check their updated online menu first.

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Chicken Fried Tongue, Artic Char, duck confit, guinea hen - perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned. The tongue was soft and luscious, how you make tongue meltingly soft, I don't know but that's how it was. A

Based on the lingua tacos and pupusas I've had over the years, I think meltingly soft tongue may not be such a unique achievement.

Also, I'm not sure if the phrase "meltingly soft tongue" gets me a little excited or creeps me out.

But I'm far more here to agree than disagree. Based on your recco and whatever random strategy my ex-office manager used to select among New Heights, Mourayo, Pesce and Eola, I was treated to a good-by dinner from my old colleagues the other night. A disconcertingly slow night at the place -- they might have peaked at 12 people in the room, I hope it was an aberration -- and one on which a fairly direct interrogatory failed to elicit the presence of a single innards-oriented dish, spent amonmgst people who do not pass plates around.

Nonetheless, a very impressive performance based on a confit pork-belly with salty, krispy kale and unidentified beans; and large tranche of rockfish, with a vinegary broth, garnished with ceci bean, pancetta, clam, caper, lemon, bronze

fennel -- the sum total of which might have filled two good-sized soup spoons, but which served together as a tangy little condiment to the rich Chesapeake fish.

Simple preparations, both; both impeccably executed and subtly brilliant.

I hope to be back, soon.

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Based on the lingua tacos and pupusas I've had over the years, I think meltingly soft tongue may not be such a unique achievement.

I've had lots of soft and slightly chewy lengua in tacos but none that fell apart like it was really slow cooked for a long time that ends up like pulled pork or beef. Glad you enjoyed your meal. But no heart to start the meal and no tongue to keep you titillated? I believe the restaurant was maybe half full while we were there on a Friday night. This place deserves more attention.

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What's the latest? Looking for recent reviews & recommendations.

I went a few weeks ago with a group of friends and had the tasting menu, while there were a few misses, it was one of the best meal I have had this year - the brain ravioli was a real standout, also I understand that the deserts were outstanding, but right as they were served I got a call that my parent's house was on fire so I had to rush off to MoCo.

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I went a few weeks ago with a group of friends and had the tasting menu, while there were a few misses, it was one of the best meal I have had this year - the brain ravioli was a real standout, also I understand that the deserts were outstanding, but right as they were served I got a call that my parent's house was on fire so I had to rush off to MoCo.

"Brain ravioli?"

I hope family is safe and unharmed.

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"Brain ravioli?"

I hope family is safe and unharmed.

When I wrote that I did not have a copy of the menu before me, It was actually a tortellini of pigs brains with chard, parmesan, butter, and lemon zest.

Thank you for your kind thoughts, my family was on vacation, I was the only one within 500 miles of the house, it caused a terrible mess that destroyed only property, but brought with it an astounding level of humanity .

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We had a great dinner last night at Eola. Off the RW menu, had

Apps: fried pigs ears with tartar sauce

coddled egg

Entrees: smoked pork belly over white beans & kale

Hereford beef

Desserts: fried apple pies

zuccini torte

The entrees were the real stand outs, far & away,. The belly was smoked so well that when the waiter removed the done you'd have thought you were standing over the smoker. Superb red meat with a nice layer of perfectly cooked pork fat (1:2 ratio)... the pork meat looked like pastrami. I can still smell & taste the dish.

The fried apple pies are two empanada-esque apple-filled tasty treats with side of homemade iced cream.

Eola is definitely a gem and deserves more attention. It has something for the adventurous eater as well as the more reserved palate.

We look forward to getting back to try the pork heart & head dishes too. In the meantime, get thee to Dupont & get porked.

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I wish I could rattle off the 12 or 13 courses I enjoyed for my anniversary dinner at Eola on Friday. At $70 a person, just go and see for yourself. The tasting menu is not listed on the website, but it is available if you ask.

A few of the most memorable:

- A delicate spoon of confit pig heart to start, a hint of the pig-heavy things to come

- A beautiful "summer composition" of seasonal vegetables

- Thick-cut pork belly that must have been cooked for a long time and then seared to crispness, rich and wonderful

- A fascinating seared albacore tuna dish, with a few pieces of szechuan-peppercorn-spiked "glass", pickled watermelon and a thick swirl of edamame cream

- The cava apple fritter was one dessert, a peanut butter ganache-based take on PB&J was another, but the third I just can't dredge up

- And, you know, many more

The service was warm, and the wine recommendation (a Monterey Mourvedre) was spot-on. Go enjoy a meal at Eola.

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Just want to add to the love for Eola. Even though only a few dishes were offered for Restaurant Week, they were all wonderful, comforting expressions of mid winter. I particularly loved the pitch perfect brioche pudding and the rich oxtail barley stew. +1 was quite fond of his cookie plate. We received efficient and pleasant service throughout our dinner. We’ll definitely be back for the bacon flight* and the regular menu!

*Once a month, Eola has brunch, and that includes a variety of bacons from a variety of breeds. The bacons can be ordered individually or as part of a bacon flight.

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First visit to Eola tonight. We were drawn there due to a wine tasting upstairs and, amazingly, hadn't heard much about this place before despite...well, you know...the fact that they've gotten plenty of press including the current Washingtonian cover--duh.

I appreciate Eola and what the Chef is doing. We had some things (below) that were really interesting, delicious or both. A couple of other things missed a bit but clear through it all is that this is a spot with real effort and passion behind it. Whether it rises toward the top of the crowded category of DC dinner spots where one can expect to pay $100 for a couple (without wine) is a different question.

Specifics:

- Amuse bouche was more interesting than knockout tasty but that's okay given the point. We were served pork heart with a small brandied cherry and I forget the third element. Definitely got us interested and looking forward to the meal so success there.

- Starter #1: "Warm Salad of Suckling Pig" Really generous portion of tasty pig (maybe just a tad dry but that's splitting hairs) atop a bed of lentils, onion and, I think, mushroom. They'd pickled one or more of the bed elements which worked well. My dining companion loved this.

- Starter #2: "Sunchoke & Almond Veloute" I ordered this and liked it; I'm a huge soup person. But, I think Cathal Armstrong has ruined me for anyone else's veloute. The veloute itself was nice, flavored well with the Jerusalem Artichokes (er, Sunchokes) but a bit thicker/heavier than Eve. Again, not fair to compare and I did really enjoy the contrasting crispy almonds and micro greens atop the soup. The almonds seemed to have been warmed or roasted separately--representative of the care taken with most of the dishes.

- Entree #1: "VA Goat" Pretty good though here the decision to season the stew strongly with curry seemed to overwhelm the milder goat.

- Entree #2: "Cedarbrook Farm's Tamworth Pork" We'd been gently "warned" by our server that this was jowl and more like pork belly so fattier than other parts of the pig. So warned, we enthusiastically said "bring it on" and were very glad we did. Chef cures this for some period of time (maybe 7 days?) and then smokes it. Both accentuate the saltiness but it was delicious and probably our favorite thing had all night. The saltiness and smokiness made it like a very thick and rich bacon--mmm, mmm good. Might have liked a 3rd piece to accompany the two included since, with the fat, not that much meat but, on balance, a very good dish.

- Dessert: An "Almond Cake w/ Housemade Preserves". Just okay. We learned that Eola doesn't have a pastry chef (seemingly a function of trying to keep costs down for a smaller restaurant not always full as Tom Sietsema noted in his review last year). That's totally okay--is what it is--but the desserts may not be the standout they once were since I think they did have someone focused on pastry in early 2010. The almond cake itself was a bit mushy, the house preserves more like candied dried fruit (bit of an odd pairing) and then sugar-less creme fraiche and some caramel. It wasn't that coherent or especially successful unfortunately.

- Server: We thought Jean Paul was truly excellent. Perfect balance of attentive without being intrusive. Knows the food and was happy to share his knowledge and answer the several questions we asked. One of the dishes came with a seasoning we hadn't expected and to which my companion was allergic. Jean Paul handled this with utter grace and professionalism. Super job.

Tom S emphasized the venue as a reason to come here when he reviewed Eola last year. I'd have to agree. The music and noise level were perfect to allow comfortable conversation. The tables are amply sized and not packed together.

Eola was good. We did enjoy it. And, again, we totally appreciate what the Chef is doing and the care with which he does it. But this probably won't become a habit for us given all the other spots in the area where one can drop similar money. It's just a crowded quality/price category with a good 5-10 others that probably offer more value at the same prices. This is #1 in the DR dining guide over Obelisk and Pesce for West Dupont/P Street. I'd probably have it third on that list though it's been awhile since my last Obelisk visit so may be out of date there.

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My wife, myself and another couple had a great meal at Eola last Friday and will absolutely be back. We'd booked via Open Table and found, even after the Washingtonian cover and other great notices, Friday night prime times were wide open. There were probably three other parties in the first floor dining room while we were there. What a great shame because the food is imaginative and tasty, the service just great (like Dark Star we were assisted by Jean Paul who lived up to his reputation, earnest and friendly, very knowledgeable about the menu and also knows his way around the wine list (is currently training to become a sommelier and really offered some interesting out of the way choices that we enjoyed).

Dining room small and intimate- - -noise level low (even if it were packed, I think conversation would be easy). Ambience quite relaxed for the food quality, which is always a great combination- -high cuisine in friendly, low-key surroundings.

My dinner (and what I recall of others....)

Starter:

Deviled Virginia Rabbit - - generous portion in little heaps atop rye toasts -- accented with mustard, very tasty (my wife enjoyed the coddled egg and I got a little taste of each of our friends' "Bacon and Eggs and Suckling Pig Salad" the latter tasting quite special).

Entree:

Cedarbrook Farm Tamworth Pork - - I would drive cross-country for this pork jowl - - pork belly on steroids? hard to capture but rich and melt-in-your-mouth and glazed to perfection - - some tartness supplied by a little mound of powdered buttermilk. Greens well-prepared.

Wife loved the rockfish, our friend's mate had the tagliatelle (a carbonara preparation)- -enjoyed it but thought it was a touch oversalted.

Dessert: Apple Upside Down Cake, worth saving room for

We got to spend some time with Chef Daniel after dinner and he was a delightful guy - - also chatted with some regular patrons- -it was that kind of relaxed and fun vibe - - almost like being welcomed into someone's home.

Really a lovely evening!

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Yes, Eola is really that good.

A group of four of us were here on a Tuesday night, 6:00 PM reservation, and it was unfortunately empty. When we left at 8:00 PM, there were a few more tables occupied, but it was frustrating to see so many empty tables when the restaurant is truly great. Granted, it was a Tuesday night and the weather was temperamental that day, but I hope that we were just there on a slow night.

The service was very solid. I felt that our server was maybe a bit too enthusiastic about the restaurant (no need to sell us, we are already there!), but it is better than being apathetic. The floor manager, I think his name is Jean/John Paul, was very engaging and knew his place - he was friendly and talkative when I was waiting for my friends, but was not overbearing when the entire table arrived. Overall, we felt very welcome, almost like we were in someone's home.

I liked the space as well. I could see it getting a bit loud when packed, but that is just an assumption on my part. Parking, however, sucks in that area, so if you head out there, I would suggest taking the metro, walking or cabbing it. I ended up paying $19 to park my car at the Hotel Palomar. Actually, let me correct that, I ended up paying $20.90 for valet parking because they charge tax on the valet parking. Who the hell does that? Whatever, just an annoyance as far as I am concerned.

Sazerac to start was the second best that I have had in the city, next to Palena, and the wine list was interesting and well priced. A bottle of Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant followed by a bottle of Tofanelli Charbono was enjoyed by the group. The veal breast and octopus appetizer was very good. The octopus was tender, but in my opinion, lacked a little bit of flavor, but the veal breast easily made up for that and was excellent. For my entree, I had the wild nettle stradette and it was simply perfect. The portion looked a bit small, but when I ate it, it never ended. Can't speak for the food that my fellow diners ate, but they all loved what they had - coddled farm egg, kielbasa, tamworth pork, duck confit. No room for dessert, but there is always another day.

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Looks like they're changing to a four course $65 tasting menu starting April 19th, choice of three items per course and $15 cheese plate add-on. I've always wondered why some restaurants go from a la carte to tasting--problems with executing too many menu combinations? A tasting menu offers a heightened experience? Oh well, I'll be checking it out regardless.

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A group of four of us were here on a Tuesday night, 6:00 PM reservation, and it was unfortunately empty. When we left at 8:00 PM, there were a few more tables occupied, but it was frustrating to see so many empty tables when the restaurant is truly great. Granted, it was a Tuesday night and the weather was temperamental that day, but I hope that we were just there on a slow night.

The slowness at Eola is worrying. Seems to be more a trend from others' posts and my own experience. If that's true, I don't really get it. The place is excellent and, most notably, unique in what it's trying to do. It is more likely to track the more adventurous side of the culinary see-saw; maybe that segment isn't big enough. Will have to get back when the new tasting menu goes live (no pun intended).

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If you want to toe in, I highly recommend their monthly brunch, which is both budget friendly (menu) and really really really good. The bacon flight is quite a unique experience (the sous vide bacon dissolves in your mouth like bacon flavored cotton candy) and they're now up to 8 different options. The donuts and eggs benedict are perfectly executed. The cocktail offerings are addicting.

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If you want to toe in, I highly recommend their monthly brunch, which is both budget friendly (menu) and really really really good. The bacon flight is quite a unique experience (the sous vide bacon dissolves in your mouth like bacon flavored cotton candy) and they're now up to 8 different options. The donuts and eggs benedict are perfectly executed. The cocktail offerings are addicting.

Super recc. Had no idea Eola offered a brunch...and yet another high-potential donut option! Thanks.

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Just went to Eola last night. It was a birthday dinner for me and I felt seriously taken care of. If your in town on a weeknight I would seriously recommend going to Eola. The food is great, inventive and the combination of flavors is stunning. I've have trouble with most of the upscale restaurants in DC not living up to my standards however Eola really fit the bill! I don't make recommendations for restaurants often, but this one I felt compelled to promote.

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As it was my birthday, I sent an IM to the chef asking if he could prepare a tasting menu for me and my wife (without saying it was my birthday but he was very observant). I informed Dan that my wife's condition doesn't allow her to eat raw seafood and she has a distaste for mushrooms. I further informed Dan that my wife can handle some offal but she's not going to want to eat an entire menu of offal (I would but I probably shouldn't). Without further consultation, he produced the spectacular menu attached.

The first few courses are their "selection of small plates" that comes normally with their $65 prix fixe dinner. I do not know when we veered from the small plates into something that is not normally a part of the prix fixe dinner. After the sorbet of cuban hats, my wife and I received different dishes. For example, I got the charred tripe and she got stuffed patty pan squash. I of course tried all of her dishes so I sampled 15 plates of food, and all of them were inventive, whimsical, and delicious. I believe all of the entree dishes were from the prix fixe menu so they were available without the tasting menu.

Some highlights - pork belly bun (the smoked pork belly gives this dish a different spin), sorbet of cuban hats (it definitely had some unexpected heat and that's what's so unique about this dish), spaghtetti with soft cooked farm egg (it's like the best spaghetti carbonara that you mix together yourself, with a great handmade pasta).

I continue to believe that Eola is the most under-rated restaurant in the city. The food quality-wise is on par with Komi and the creativity is nearly equal to that of Rogue 24. One difference and what brings me back to Eola is the menu continues to change and evolve.

Disclaimer: as the chef noticed it was my birthday, we were comped two glasses of champagne.

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. . . After the sorbet of cuban hats, my wife and I received different dishes. . . . Some highlights . . . sorbet of cuban hats (it definitely had some unexpected heat and that's what's so unique about this dish) . . .

What exactly is a "sorbet of cuban hats"? I tried google and got pictures of hats, not one of which looked like it might make a tasty frozen treat.

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The cuban hat is actually a pepper not a chili (different families). I was introduced to it while working in Florida by my friends Roger and Melanie at Waterkist Farm. I've loved this pepper since first tasting it many years ago and was excited to find it up here. We source them from our friends at The Fresh Link a co-op we and many other restaurants work with. I asked Mollie for a little background on the it:

Hey Dan,

Here is a little write up based on what we know regarding the Cuban Hat Pepper.

Mr. Cabrera is Cuban and came to the United States in the 1950s. He just turned 77 today actually! He helped run a produce farm in Cuba when he was younger and when he moved to Florida brought some seed. One of the seeds was what we call the Cuban Hat Pepper. I'm not sure it's ancestral history beyond Cuba. Mr. Cabrera has been growing and seed saving this same pepper his entire life. When he moved to Hartland Farm (2 miles from our farm) 13 years ago to manage their growing operation he started propagating the Cuban Hat Pepper. We have helped him develop his market for the pepper and he is always thrilled to hear what the chefs are doing with his favorite pepper!

Sorry this is not an exact history, but what we know from Mr. Cabrera's stories!

Mollie

Here's a link with a little more info on the Cuban Hat.

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Some highlights - pork belly bun (the smoked pork belly gives this dish a different spin), sorbet of cuban hats (it definitely had some unexpected heat and that's what's so unique about this dish.

Yes to both of these. Those pork buns were outrageously good, and the sorbet of cuban hats with pork foam was stunning, spicy-cold and refreshing as a palate cleanser.

I continue to believe that Eola is the most under-rated restaurant in the city. The food quality-wise is on par with Komi and the creativity is nearly equal to that of Rogue 24. One difference and what brings me back to Eola is the menu continues to change and evolve.

Last night was my first trip there, but I would go back in a minute. Outstanding food, excellent service (including wine service), and an all-around lovely and also celebratory meal. :mellow:

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I have to give another huge (and belated) rubber stamp of approval for this place. Wife and I dined here about 6 weeks ago - I had the "normal" tasting menu and she had the offal menu. Innovative without being pretentious. An obviously inspired chef. This was easily one of the best (and most memorable) dining experiences I have had in DC.

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Headed down for the bacon flight this Sunday!! I am so excited, have been meaning to get down there for this for some time and I have a fellow bacon-loving friend in town who is flying back out to CA out of National that afternoon so we're going to squeeze in brunch before he leaves. Any suggestions for what's good aside from the bacon flight? I'm more of a savory than sweet kind of gal, but I'm always open to anything (especially since I hear the donuts are good).

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Headed down for the bacon flight this Sunday!! I am so excited, have been meaning to get down there for this for some time and I have a fellow bacon-loving friend in town who is flying back out to CA out of National that afternoon so we're going to squeeze in brunch before he leaves. Any suggestions for what's good aside from the bacon flight? I'm more of a savory than sweet kind of gal, but I'm always open to anything (especially since I hear the donuts are good).

I really liked their French toast. You may end up preferring sweet items, if as happened when I went, the bacon ended up being too salty (and I like salt).
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We ended up splitting the eggs benedict to go with our bacon. I was pleasantly surprised when they brought it already plated separately on 2 plates. It probably wasn't the best choice, the hollandaise was just too rich alongside a plate of bacon, but everything was done well. In retrospect, I would have liked a nice cup of fruit and the bacon and that would have been perfect.

Anyway, the bacon was delicious. The farmers cross was my favorite, with the red wattle being a close second. Both had the smoky deliciousness you'd expect, but the farmers cross had a bit more sweetness from the caramelization, while the red wattle struck me as being a bit meatier. The Tamsworth face bacon (from the jowl) was good, but never a contender for being front runner.

We had a really nice time and I love the small space, and the staff was very friendly, but the service was SO SLOW. For the most part I didn't mind, I was catching up with an old friend, but in the end, we would have shared a second flight of bacon were it not for how slow the service was. He had a flight to catch and by the end of the meal, I honestly started to worry about whether he'd get out of there in time. For an order of eggs benedict, a flight of bacon, and coffee we were there an hour and a half.

Anyway, based on this limited experience and all of the positive reviews, I look forward to getting back soon for the tasting menu at dinner.

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The cuban hat is actually a pepper not a chili . . .

I finally had this tonight. It was ridiculously good (and stays with you), as was everything else.

I picked Eola for my birthday celebration this year based on a recommendation from Tod Kliman. It was the fourth best meal I've had this year. That's not a dig. Numbers one through three were, in order: Eleven Madison Park, Komi, and L'atelier de Joel Robuchon in Paris (not a typical year, but ain't complaining). Komi only wasn't number one because I'd been there before and Eleven Madison Park had a serious wow factor (personal liquid nitrogen G&T in the kitchen for my girlfriend and I). L'atelier was excellent, just vastly more expensive than the other two and not quite as much coddling.

And, did I mention, that Eola -- with two bottles of wine and a few drinks -- was half the price of the other three?

Go here. Seriously. But tell them in advance if you're not a meat freak. They are! Almost all of the first course "chef choice" offerings were meat-based.

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I hate to be a dissenting voice, but we did not love our meal at Eola last month. It was fine, but some missteps kept it from being a truly special meal, particularly at the price point it is charging. Although duly warned by the reviews, the service was really slow. I am all for not being rushed and prefer a leisurely meal, but when you are constantly wondering where the server is, that's not a good sign. Because we don't eat pork , there were only two appetizers we could eat but both were liver-based (foie gras and a chicken liver parfait, I believe). My husband doesn't like liver and asked if he could order an appetizer off of the vegetarian menu, but was told he would have to go with the entire vegetarian menu (which he didn't want to do). I'm sure there are operational reasons for this, but I found it a bit rigid. Finally, my husband's salmon was overcooked---it wasn't terrible, but it certainly was not medium rare. He thought about sending it back but by then we had already been there so long and the server was hard to flag down. Overall, I will give the place props for being an independent, neighborhood restaurant that tries to be inventive; we thought the dishes were all interesting, but not all of the flavors came together. By far, the best part of the meal was the little dishes that start the dinner. Really enjoyed those.

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A solidly good meal at Eola over the weekend. Not great, but solidly good.

The restaurant reminded me of an early Komi (perhaps when Komi was transitioning from its ala cart format to its tasting menu format) but not as focused and without quite the same finesse. Similarly situated in a Dupont Circle area townhouse. Young, hip waitstaff clearly knowledgible and enthusiastic about the food.

We went with the offal tasting and the veg tasting menus ($61 each). Some of the high and low lights:

Highlights

Bread Basket - A selection of crakers, rye, and sourdough bread all made in-house. Apparently one of the waitstaff makes the bread each morning and was thrilled when we asked her who made the bread. I think it kinda made her night!

The opening selection of small plates. Meal started off with a parade of six small bites including tartare, sliver of pig heart, deviled quail egg, short glass of celeraic consomme, deep fried mozzarella ball. Only miss was the grilled scallion. The bites were too small for sharing so I didn't try any of the veg offerings, but I felt they did a good job of creating veg friendly alternatives for the meat components.

White Kidneys of Moulard Duck & Quail Liver - The star of this dish were the duck kidneys, creamy, delicious. I could have eaten a whole bowl of these. The asia pear slaw was meh.

Confited Cedarbrook Farm Tamworth Jowl - I was somewhat split on the jowl. It is marinated for three days and then smoked for 36 hours. They have truly created meat candy. Salty, caramelized, but felt that the "burnt ends" had been smoked to the point of meaty honeycomb.

Apple Upside Down Cake - Pretty much everything one would want for a fall dessert. Excellent creme fraiche ice cream.

Lowlights

Grilled scallion - The second to last dish of the opening small plates. Could of used some more time on the grill, the central part of the scallion was still raw.

Braised Pig Ear with Kimchi - The kimchi just overwhelmed the entire dish and given the focus of the rest of the menu seemed to be jarringly out of place. That said the kimchi was solid (could have been cured longer), the pig ears really added nothing to this dish.

Feuillete of Early Autumn - A highend version of that old wedding saw, the vegetable napoleon. Seemed to be kind of a cop out to us. By the end of the dish the vegetable purees were getting heavy and dense.

Ricotta Date Tart - The individual components of the dessert were fine but never really came together as a complete dish. And paled in comparison to the Apple Upside Down Cake.

Other thoughts

We didn't experience any service delays or slowness, the small plates came out in a quick succession. Comfortable spacing between the main dishes. For what was basically 10 courses, dinner took roughly 2.5/3 hours.

With the weather turning to autumn (winter!) we felt that the veg tasting menu could have incorporated a whole universe of grains, lentils, and legumes that could have made things more interesting.

I wanted to try the offal menu, but having had it I would probably next time go with the main dinner menu...which seemed to be a bit more interesting.

For $61, Eola has to be one of the better deals in town. Two tasting menus, 2 cocktails, 2 beers and a glass of wine, coffee, tip and tax came to $200.

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I want to thank the folks at Eola for hosting my wife and I in our 16th wedding anniversary dinner last night. A very mature and well developed meal with several memorable dishes. It was our first time there during a predictably quiet night in many DC restaurants. I have very bad memory, something my wife reminds me every day - for 16 years - so please forgive me if I only highlight three dishes that I can recall with competent detail. The "Confit of Pork Jowl sea island red peas, kale, chanterelles" was intensely flavored, with the assertive porky salt crusted on the surface and deeply nuanced "farm" aromas of mushrooms, kale and the peas. The

Crispy Torchon of Pig's Ear & Tail fried egg, savory oats & roasted garlic puree was the first time I've had Pig's ear since Madrid 10 years ago. Very softened cartilage with a crispy and light (cornmeal?) coating. We appreciated the double down bet with the fried egg. This was a very satisfying textural experience. Unexpectedly, my wife ordered the trout with ginger broth which was a sharp, crisp and very confident dish in a menu dominated by ophal. Finally, a special thanks to "Casey" the hostess/waitress for the evening. She was very confident, knowledgeable, with great sense of timing and unobtrusiveness. Thank you Eola and congratulations. Good luck and much success on 2012!

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I want to thank the folks at Eola for hosting my wife and I in our 16th wedding anniversary dinner last night. A very mature and well developed meal with several memorable dishes.

Thanks for posting this, as I was about to post looking for feedback about any recent meals here. I'm heading here tomorrow night for my birthday....now to decide which menu to order from.

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I had a wonderful, relaxing birthday dinner on Friday at Eola. I ordered the Offal menu and Paula ordered the regular menu. We shared each course, which worked very well, as I think eating the full Offal menu would have been a very heavy meal. Some highlights of our meal.

The Great:

A Spicy Stew of Chic Peas: manilla clams, mussels, chard, carrot & cumin froth (Regular menu)

This was our first experience with black chickpeas, which were nuttier and more toothsome than "regular" chickpeas. The broth had a nice spice that hit the back of the throat. This was one of my favorite dishes of the night.

Hand Cut Fettuccine: smoked pork trotter, coddled egg, horseradish & bread crumbs (Offal menu)

PORK!! EGG YOLK!!! How could you go wrong? The pasta was cooked perfectly, and the occasional crunch from the bread crumbs provided a wonderful textural component.

Confit of Pork Jowl: sea island red peas, swiss chard, mousserons (Offal menu)

Our main waiter (Jean Paul, who is also the floor manager) "warned" us (and every table that orders it) that the jowl is smoked for 24(?) hours, so it has a very smoky and salty flavor. He was absolutely correct, but it worked perfectly. The exterior of the jowl had nice crunchy bits, while the interior was tender. It is not often that I look forward to eating vegetables; however, taking intermittent bites of the swiss chard and mushrooms was a nice way to break up this meat-heavy menu.

Coffee

Eola serves Counter Culture coffee. I am not sure which kind we had (they apparently have 5 or 6 single origin coffees on their menu), as we just asked to have coffee with dessert. I need to buy some Counter Culture beans now.

The Very Good:

Ricotta-Date Tart: cinnamon, honey, salted caramel ice cream

Very enjoyable and lighter (in a good way) than I was expecting. "Salted caramel" anything has become extremely trite at this point, but the salted caramel ice cream was delicious.

Toasted Matcha Cake: cocoa sorbet, orange, candied zest & star anise "jelly"

The matcha cake was borderline savory, but not too much and was well-balanced by the citrus elements.

The Good:

Crispy Torchon of Pig’s Ear: fried egg, savory oats & roasted garlic puree (Offal menu)

This was my first experience with pig's ear. Although it was a little chewy, it had pretty good flavor. This dish screamed out for a little more salt.

Herb Gnocchi: cauliflower puree, anchovy, olive, caper & orange zest (Regular menu)

We were expecting a pillowy-soft gnocchi; however, these were deep-fried. They were tasty, but not what we had "thought" we would be getting. In reality, given that it was served with the cauliflower puree (delicious), the crispy gnocchi was probably a better preparation. Our fault for not asking, but perhaps on the menu they could be called "Crispy Herb Gnocchi"?

Border Springs Farm Lamb: polenta cake, kale, turnip, radish & jus (Regular menu)

The lamb was cooked nicely, but didn't really stand out. The star of the dish was the polenta cake, which was crispy, creamy and very flavorful.

Supplemental Cheese Course

The cheeses were enjoyable; however, it would have been nice if the waiter who brought them (not Jean Paul) had given us a little more information about them.

From start to finish, the courses were spaced perfectly, and we never felt a lull between courses. Jean Paul was a terrific waiter, who was very engaging and answered all of our questions. He brought us 2 complimentary glasses of prosecco for my birthday, which was a nice touch. I look forward to returning in the future to see how the menu changes.

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Went here on Friday as a birthday request for my sister. We were both really impressed. She had the offal menu while I got the regular, and we tasted each others' dishes, of course. The amuse-bouches (plural!) were wonderful. The perfect starter, inventive, but not too "out there". I remember fried root vegetable strips with a vinegar and aioli, a duck prosciutto on crouton, and a celery consommé with black olive oil. Pan-fried brains, lamb heart bolognese, pork jowl, and ginger lemon pudding for the offal menu. Not a fan of the brains (neither my sis or I had eaten brain before). Was sort of gamey in a not-pleasant way for me, but my sister liked it. The texture was good and creamy, though. Lamb heart bolognese tasted comforting and meaty, yet with that organ/slightly bloody, coppery taste. Well-executed, and you could probably lay it on someone unsuspecting without them figuring out that it was organ meat. Pasta was the most perfectly al dente pasta I've ever tasted. Pork jowl was very decadent. Literally a burst of fat in your mouth when you bite into it, but really good. Like bacon on steroids with the chef's preparation. Ginger lemon pudding was light, but creamy and a nice palate cleanser after the richness and gaminess of the offal dishes.

Regular menu was great as well, though not as exciting as the offal menu (obviously). Baked antebellum grits with a duck ragout, hand-cut semolina spaghetti, pork shoulder and dark chocolate terrine. The grits with duck ragout were good. Very rich, and the grits were more along the lines of a dense, soft cake (like a polenta cake, but not grilled, just warmed up) instead of the more typical preparation. Spaghetti was, again, perfectly al dente and comforting. Cheesy and just the right amount of olive oil. Just a nice hint of the red pepper flakes for flavor and a tiny kick, but not a heat that lingers (good thing, with the subtle flavors and all). Pork shoulder was fatty and tender, very much letting the pork speak for itself. Nice, muted-yet-subtle flavors that melded well with every ingredient. Reminds me of good, peasant meals in the middle of a small [insert European country] village. Dark chocolate terrine is a must if you love chocolate, especially dark chocolate. Nothing ground-breaking. Just a damn good chocolate dessert, period.

We both chose teas to finish our meal, and also received a house-made cookie sampler with it: meringues, almond biscotti, chocolate chip and molasses. We barely had room for it, but ate it anyway.

On top of the great, satisfying food was the exceptional service. I had noted on the reservation form that it was my sister's birthday and they went above and beyond, including a candle in my sister's dessert. Would go back for the great service alone.

Overall, subtle and comforting is the theme I got from Eola. If you want flavors that knock you out of the park, go elsewhere. This is food akin to the Japanese mindset of letting the ingredients' natural flavors speak for themselves, but also goes above that in giving you some surprises in each dish that aren't going to scare off the less-adventurous eaters. Already thinking of going back the next time we want to splurge on a nice meal out.

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A lovely birthday dinner here last night (as many of the previous posts should hint, this is a very good place to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions). We were given a table in the front window and greeted with a glass of cava as a birthday special. The five amuse-bouches (a sort of lamb bacon with chili oil; rillettes on bruschetta; deviled quail's egg; fried green tomato with pimento spread; coriander-infused limeade) were perhaps not as thrilling as what I've had at Komi or Restaurant Eve (where they were the meal's highlight), but expertly done. Bob started with the Fred Collins, I with the Sazerac--as well made as previously noted.

For first courses, I had the shrimp potage with coddled egg and maritake; Bob the mustard/caraway custard with lamb sausage. Both dishes were perhaps the best of our savory courses: the shrimp broth was rich and flavorful, the egg cooked to the perfect semi-soft texture so that it was still liquid without blending into the broth. I didn't get to taste the sausage, but the bite of custard I had with also near-perfect, and it was his favorite dish of the night.

Moving on to the pasta course, my nettle risotto with asparagus was a lovely green and ideally textured, though the flavor was somewhat muted (except for the parmesan shavings). Bob seemed a bit underwhelmed by his spaghetti with duck ham, strawberries and slivers of olive (which he didn't even notice). Again, I only got to taste a bit of the ham, which was quite salty.

For entrees, my perfectly poached halibut was framed by an almost overwhelming amount of microgreens, amidst which were hidden more maritakes, braised radishes, and an underlying ramp sauce. Another lovely dish overall, though I'm not sure the mushrooms quite fit the rest of the flavor profile. Bob liked his medium-rare saddle of lamb, and it came with two long yellow carrots, hyssop, and a garlic puree. All this was accompanied by a 2010 Nebbiolo bottle that we purchased off the by-the-glass listing.

My dessert, a fennel upside-down cake with creme fraiche and toasted wild rice kernels, was my other big hit of the night (and served with a birthday candle!). The carmelized fennel was neither licorice-y nor too sweet, and the tartness of the creme fraiche made this just right for my mostly non-sweet tooth. Bob's elderflower sabayon with berries and shortbread paled by comparison, but we agreed that the plate of cookies and sweets that ended the meal was terrific, especially a strawberry-rhubarb gelee.

Service was prompt throughout the meal until the end, when we were left waiting for the bill for over 20 minutes with half-empty water glasses--a sorry glitch in an otherwise lovely evening. Still, this was one of the best meals I've had in DC in some time; I dare say I liked it much better than my birthday meal five years ago at Restaurant Eve's Tasting Room, which left me seriously overwhelmed and was far more expensive. Tweaked's comparison to the early days of Komi seems apt. For quality, comfortable atmosphere, and adventurousness, at $65 per person, this is one of the best deals in town.

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