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Restaurant Eve, Old Town Alexandria - Chef Cathal Armstrong and GM Todd Thrasher - Closed Jun 2, 2018


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As it should be, one will find the ladies that dine with us take the time look spectacular and dress in fine garments for dinner. (emphasis added)

That particular bit of diction makes me chuckle (as does much of the website); it reminds me of a description of some Silk Road-era market: "Merchants selling fine garments of the supple silk, and elsewhere, traders hawking the most mysterious of spices! Oh, and down the road, a young man was dying of cholera. And around the corner, a chemist selling antiscorbutics for sailors passing through!"

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I'm not cheating! Is this scurvy? And if so, isn't it just a vitamin C deficiency?

Okay, now I am cheating - I just verified on Wikipedia.

"How did I know?" you ask.

Around ten years ago, a publication (and it may have been The Washington Post) published a piece called something like "Man Cannot Live By Bread Alone (Or Can He?)" and it was about what would happen if someone only ate bread (and water, of course). According to the article, the dieter would eventually contract scurvy (from having no Vitamin C) and die from it, so the conclusion was that, no, man cannot live by bread alone.

Paula Broadwell = Mistress-slav Rostropovich thought I'd get that in

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According to Tom S. , the restaurant will be closed on Mondays to afford the staff more time off. Considering they are already closed on Sundays, that's pretty amazing. Kudos to them, as two days off straight is the holy grail of the restaurant biz, and now all of the staff will get it.

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Perfect reason to bump this thread given some of the posts from last year just above and the fact that there hasn't been a post about any meal at Eve (excepting lunch at the bar) in more than two years. Without addressing the policy change discussed last year, will say it seems clear Restaurant Eve hasn't gotten the attention of some newer spots in the past two years. I've always thought Cathal Armstrong was one of our area's greatest talents. And Eve was one of the few restaurants in the area with a serious coffee program long before others started thinking along similar lines (they serve Ceremony).

This is a great promotion...if you were lucky enough to be born under the right star (as approximately 57 of us here were according to this). And Animal Welfare League of Alexandria is a great organization. Now where did I put that fake-ID maker since I assume everyone gets carded for this? :)

Restaurant Eve is turning nine and would like to share her birthday gift!
Eve Armstrong, the namesake of Restaurant Eve, had an idea that spurred Restaurant Eve's April Birthday Bash: Anyone celebrating a birthday in April will receive the gift of a five-course dinner in the Chef's Tasting Room.
Both Restaurant Eve and Eve herself celebrate spring birthdays. Eve opted that, in lieu of birthday presents, she would ask her friends and family
to give to the Animal Welfare of Alexandria. (The young Armstrong hopes to be a veterinarian.)
Touched by their daughter's philanthropy, the Armstrongs and the team behind Restaurant Eve celebrated her request and are taking it one step further to benefit not only the animals but the people of Alexandria for the second year in a row.
Here's how it works:
  • The Gift is not valid Friday or Saturday.
  • Call 703-706-0450 for reservations and inform them of your “Birthday Bash.”
  • Reservations must be called in - Reservations made online can not be honored.
  • ONE Gift per table.
  • Gratuity on our gift still needs to be shared.
  • ABC law does not permit us to include alcohol.
  • Valid in the Chef's Tasting Room only as Eve likes her birthday to be swanky!
  • Please bring a gift or check for animals of the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

Click here for the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria's Wish List

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This is a great promotion...if you were lucky enough to be born under the right star (as approximately 57 of us here were according to this). And Animal Welfare League of Alexandria is a great organization. Now where did I put that fake-ID maker since I assume everyone gets carded for this? :)

There are other restrictions too, so be careful to read them all:

Here's how it works:
  • The Gift is not valid Friday or Saturday.
  • Call 703-706-0450 for reservations and inform them of your „Birthday Bash.‰
  • Reservations must be called in - Reservations made online can not be honored.
  • ONE Gift per table.
  • Gratuity on our gift still needs to be shared.
  • ABC law does not permit us to include alcohol.
  • Valid in the Chef's Tasting Room only as Eve likes her birthday to be swanky!
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Was wondering why Don reposted the requirements. Really strange invision thing? When I pasted in the promo, it had all the restrictions and requirements. Even now in edit mode, I can see that they're all there. But when out of edit mode, the quote only has two that appear. Haven't a clue why that would happen?

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Was wondering why Don reposted the requirements. Really strange invision thing? When I pasted in the promo, it had all the restrictions and requirements. Even now in edit mode, I can see that they're all there. But when out of edit mode, the quote only has two that appear. Haven't a clue why that would happen?

It may have something to do with the formatting of the bullet points. Try editing the bullets out and see if that fixes it. (I don't know why the bullet points might remain for Don and not for you, but that could be a browser issue. It could also be the hyperlink in the last bullet point did something. Don doesn't have that one in his post.)

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I was just perusing the website and sample menus in anticipation of a belated birthday dinner next Saturday night in the Bistro, when I came across this statement:

** Friday and Saturday evenings - Bistro: Please expect a prix-fixe three course menu with choices for $65 per person exclusively.

Does this mean that there is no a la carte menu option in the Bistro on Saturday nights? i'm trying to decide how I feel about that. Although I know the food is splendid, I kind of like having the option to share an extra appetizer on the front end, in lieu of a sweet dessert at the end (I'm not a real sweets fiend).

Edited to add: I just looked at the verbiage about attire, and now I don't think I have anything suitable to wear to the Bistro. I don't dress up as a rule, but I've found that my style of dress (clean chino slacks and a blouse) has been fine for lots of nice restaurants downtown. It doesn't sound as if that will fit the bill in the Bistro, however.

I've been looking forward to this dinner for a long time, and now I'm having cold feet.

According to Tom S. , the restaurant will be closed on Mondays to afford the staff more time off. Considering they are already closed on Sundays, that's pretty amazing. Kudos to them, as two days off straight is the holy grail of the restaurant biz, and now all of the staff will get it.

And now, this latest bit from Tom breaks this news which might seem to build on the above. Summarizing:

- Restaurant Eve will be just one restaurant come Oct 21st to rationalize an unwieldy menu

- Chef Armstrong will be back in the kitchen six nights each week when Chef de Cuisine Jeremy Hoffman leaves "this winter"

- The restaurant "quietly resurrected" Monday service last week

RE's website and facebook page do not reflect these changes so no additional information seems to yet be public.

One BIG question that popped straightaway into my mind and was unanswered in Tom's piece (and also asked by a commenter in the questions there):  Does this mean the famed Lickety Split lunch will be no more?!?!

I won't speculate on any of this since I know nothing more than what Tom wrote but I'd imagine I'm not alone in being interested in any story behind this seemingly ongoing story. Restaurants and other purveyors face all kinds of challenges.  Usually best just to communicate clearly and comprehensively. That comment isn't just directed at RE.  It's also for journalists (TS in this case).  Why not get a fuller story to better inform and reconcile previous change explanations? Or, if not feasible, let readers know that the attempt was made and, etc., etc.?

Restaurant Eve was a vanguard of truly Great Food Made Well here in DC long before so many others appeared on the scene.  And, it still is a leader in so many movements (i.e., fine dining, local sourcing, sustainability, exceptional technique and attention to detail).  I hope these latest changes--especially the menu and restaurant consolidation/simplification--will enhance the experience. Will they? And, if so, why and how?

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Restaurant Eve was a vanguard of truly Good Food Made Well here in DC long before so many others appeared on the scene.  And, it still is a leader in so many movements (i.e., fine dining, local sourcing, sustainability, exceptional technique and attention to detail).  I hope these latest changes will enhance the experience. Will they? And, if so, why and how?

Cathal in the kitchen a definite positive. Having a more traditional menu arrangement, with an optional tasting menu seems also a positive. In short, IMHO, all of their strengths are enhanced with this.

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Hit the Lickety Split lunch today.  As ever, wonderful service.  I got the tempura monkfish sandwich, which was a fine sandwich, but the soup -- a cabbage/coconut milk/lemongrass veloute -- was stellar!  I wish I had waited to order my second course after the first bowl of soup because I would have ordered another as my second.

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Has anyone been to Restaurant Eve since it revamped?  I have a friend coming to town, who I've taken to Komi before, and I'm trying to think up another DC gem to try.  Is Eve going strong again?

Eve is still going strong (which is a stronger statement than saying it's "going strong again.") While I went to a great deal of trouble before to split the posts into "Bistro" and "Tasting Room," this is no longer accurate, since you can get both the a la carte and tasting menus in both places - as well as at the bar. So in essence, it's one menu now (with a separate bar menu, of course).

As much as it kills me to undo the work I did, the proper thing is now to merge the two threads into one. I'm *glad* I took the "bold step" of upgrading Eve Bistro to Bold a few years back because that meant the entire restaurant was in Bold; not just the Tasting Room.

Let me grieve my loss of work for a short while - then, I will merge the threads if no one has any objection. It's either "merge" them into one "Restaurant Eve" thread, or consider both Bistro and The Tasting Room "Closed" while starting a brand new, third thread - I like the former idea much better because it reflects the truth: two concepts have been rolled into one, and spread throughout the entire restaurant.

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Eve is still going strong (which is a stronger statement than saying it's "going strong again.") 

How do you (or anyone else) think it compares to Komi?  Do you prefer one to the other?  I love Komi -- we go a few times a year -- but I never ate in Eve's Tasting Room (and wasn't blown away by the one meal I had in the Bistro years ago).

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The Tasting Room at Eve is gone. I ate in the Tasting Room a couple of times and have eaten at Komi a few times. Komi was the clear winner in the challenge of the tasting menus. Eve was very good but not spectacular. Komi always takes things to another level. That said, the bistro menu at Restaurant Eve (which I've eaten at in the past few months) is fantastic. If you want a 'holy crap!" eight course tasting menu, go to Komi. If you want to order a phenomenal appetizer, entree and dessert, you can't go wrong at Eve.

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The Tasting Room at Eve is gone. I ate in the Tasting Room a couple of times and have eaten at Komi a few times. Komi was the clear winner in the challenge of the tasting menus. Eve was very good but not spectacular. Komi always takes things to another level. That said, the bistro menu at Restaurant Eve (which I've eaten at in the past few months) is fantastic. If you want a 'holy crap!" eight course tasting menu, go to Komi. If you want to order a phenomenal appetizer, entree and dessert, you can't go wrong at Eve.

Obviously, I love both restaurants since I have them in Bold, but their cuisines are so completely different that I didn't have a good answer for jca76's question (and, given that this was a very thoughtful first post, I really wanted to answer). jca76, allow me to take this moment to say "Welcome!" and to thank you for joining the community and posting.

The nuance in Komi's cuisine speaks for itself, but one less obvious thing I want to point out is the counterintuitive ordering strategy to employ at Restaurant Eve: Cathal Armstrong's kitchen is at it's strongest when the diner "orders heavy." Game meats, foie gras, house made terrines - all these things at Eve are magical and, surprisingly, elegant. Many people want to "lighten" Cathal's cooking by ordering light: fish, vegetables, preparations that "read" delicate on the menu, but the best way to lighten his cooking is to order the heaviest-sounding things there are. In my opinion, this is his single biggest strength as a chef: the ability to make normally heavy dishes light and elegant.

And, once and for all: is "house made" one word or two? What about "homemade?" Is it ever proper to use "homemade" in a restaurant setting as opposed to "house made?" I have about a dozen writing-oriented "things" that torment me, and this is one of them.

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Restaurant Eve's customer service is admirable. Earlier this month, my husband and daughter brought me to Eve for my birthday, which is always a delight. We've gone only for special occasions and know that we'll have a wonderful dinner each time. When we got home this time, I was disappointed when I realized I hadn't received a bag of scone mix, as I had in the past. I first checked this forum to find out if the practice continued and found out it did. The next day, I called the restaurant to verify if they still had scone mix, and the woman on the telephone couldn't have been nicer. She apologized, took my address, and mailed me a bag. I was willing to drop by sometime and was surprised that she'd send it. (This also made up for an unusual mixup with our cocktails at dinner. They had not arrived by the time our first course was served, and when I asked our waiter if they were coming, he was mortified. He found out that they had been delivered to another table, and the people there had not said anything. By that time I wanted wine instead of a cocktail. Oh well, I'll have to try the gingery cocktail another time.)

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The alleged Filipino menu drew us in.

Booked a week or two ago hoping to do this as a pre-theater dinner so in two hours or a bit longer. And, yes, I know that'll seem positively blasphemous to some. For those compadres, I have no defense. So putting that aside...

What a great and interesting thing for RE to do. The Washingtonian has it a bit wrong. It's not all Filipino. Rather, there are Filipino dishes along with others inspired by other Asian cuisines such as two kinds of housemade (house made? homemade? Aaaarrrggghh!) kimchi (Korea) and at least one Thai dish.

The menu isn't written down so I'll do my best here by memory. Three courses (sort of) served "family style." Sort of because only the main course has shared dishes. Anyway, we had:

Amuse

Or, "gifts from the kitchen," as one of our three or so excellent servers put it.

- a long dish with wonderful rabbit liver pate, a quail egg on some kind of housemade (dammit!) wafer...Because Everything is homemade here of course. Oh, and some pretty decadent mini gougeres. The latter worked out quite well for me as my +1 avoids gluten.

- a veloute made from celeriac with toasted walnuts and something else I don't recall. Really good but Cathal Armstrong is kind of famous for veloutes, which I don't think are Filipino but no matter.

The best Gluten-Free Bread in town which, along with the always-just-baked-in-small-batches regular bread and that KerryGold butter, just isn't fair in competition with 99% of other restaurant bread services.

First Course

This was served on an approximately 5x7, roof-worthy, slate.

- Some very serious "Filipino BBQ" pork belly. Ah, uber-talented chef understatement. This was great.
- An impossibly cute fried quail egg atop a nickle-sized two-inch high cylinder of rice that seemed as though each grain had been carefully placed with tweezers.
- a really hot (home made Sriracha)--and really good--diced tuna tartare completed the culinary hat trick

Main Course

Sides included four house-made dipping sauces we never tried, an excellent refried lentil dish redolent of cumin, two kinds of home-made kimchi (radish and cabbage) and that lovely (maybe jasmine?) rice. Four shared dishes on a round platter surrounding the rice.

- a really lovely panang curry with exceptionally silky cubes of tofu
- an excellent (my fave of the four) shellfish stew with fried monkfish, rockfish and a large prawn
- some kind of very tasty stew made with beef (or maybe pork?) and clams
- another stew with a name that begins with a "D" incorporating blood sausage and ribeye trim. This was really the only miss of the night for us as both the sausage and beef were pretty dry

Dessert Course

- rice pudding served warm in a hot ceramic bowl and topped with a quenelle of what we both agreed was one of the very best coconut ice creams we'd ever had

Knowing they have a high-quality coffee and espresso program, we ordered an espresso for her and a cortado for me. Surprisingly, noone knew how to make a cortado but I enjoyed the "light foam cappuccino" I was served.

At $60 pp for the tasting menu, this is great value for both the quality and quantity served. I've always thought Cathal Armstrong one of the very best chefs in the area and it's great to see him extending like this. The menu changes some from week to week but may go on into February or beyond depending on demand. I'm guessing probable since we saw many other tables in a packed house tonight ordering it.

Just a delightful dinner and they had us out in 2:15 without ever making us feel rushed.

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I believe Meshe Armstrong is half-Filipina, so this was probably more than just "pretend-Filipino."

Just for clarity, I'm a huge and longtime fan of both Armstrongs and didn't use the word "pretend." I used the word "alleged" in reference to the menu as Washingtonian got that wrong by not indicating it is a mix of Filipino dishes and others inspired by other Asian cuisines.

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Darkstar,

Did this menu end at the end of January?

Don't believe so but call to be sure. We were told they were thinking of extending it past the original January plan dependent on demand. And, Saturday, there was a good bit of demand judging from all the tables with the distinctive Asian dishes on them. Definitely recommend this. MIT was excelent and just a nice bit of discovery for those already familiar with Cathal Armstrong's cooking.

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Did this menu end at the end of January?

Nope!  It's still happening:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/going-out-guide/wp/2015/03/03/restaurant-eves-asian-tasting-menu-is-here-to-stay/

A bunch of coincidences conspired to leave my wife and me suddenly free on a Friday night and they had seats available at 8:45 so we went to check out the new tasting menu and WOW!  It's fantastic.  If you're the type of person who reads this site, you're the type of person who needs to try this meal!

Our meal was very similar if not identical  to Dark Star's (post #770) right down to the fact that we didn't try any of the four dipping sauces, because there was so much flavor already happening that there was no need for anything else.  It felt like Little Serow collided with Bangkok Golden and a wonderful hybrid was created.  So many bright flavors mixing with the heat from the various peppers and spices made this meal unlike anything I've ever had.  And it was a large meal too!  We couldn't finish off all of dishes in the main course.

A couple things that I remember that weren't mentioned in Dark Star's review:  a lentil dish that could have been some type of meat porridge.  I have no strong feelings about lentils either way, but these were fantastic.  I could have them at every meal (or at least a couple times a week!).  We also got two bowls of kimchi.  One was a more standard cabbage version, but the other was "just" chunks of pickled radish that were the perfect counter to some of the spice from the main dishes.  Again, I'm no fan of radishes, but these were great.

The sommelier helped us pick out a wonderful wine to take some of the heat away.  It was from Alsace and it had a tiny bit of sweetness.  Unfortunately, I don't remember the name, and they don't have their wine list on line, and the name wasn't printed on the receipt.  The grape was something "weird" (I.E. not Chardonnay!), but it was one of the cheaper ones on the list at $50 and it was perfect for the food.  When does someone ever steer you to the cheapest wines on the list?!?!?!  Loved it!

My only complaint is that they don't have a printed menu and description of the dishes anywhere.  Thanks to Dark Star for his great effort above!

One other note:  There was a couple sitting next to us who were ahead of us by a half hour or so.  They both got these huge steaks, that I'm sure were great, but who goes to Eve for friggin' steaks?!!??!  Anyhow, when they saw our table covered in all these small plates with the sauces and "salads" (lentils, kimci, etc) they asked the waitress what the heck was going on at our table!  There's only a very small note on the menu about the Asian Tasting Menu, so I'm sure a lot of people miss it, but our server said about 30% of the people ordered it that night.

One final note, the price is up to $65 from $60 in Dark Star's post.  Still a great deal for the quantity, quality and uniqueness of the meal.

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Nope!  It's still happening:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/going-out-guide/wp/2015/03/03/restaurant-eves-asian-tasting-menu-is-here-to-stay/

A bunch of coincidences conspired to leave my wife and me suddenly free on a Friday night and they had seats available at 8:45 so we went to check out the new tasting menu and WOW!  It's fantastic.  If you're the type of person who reads this site, you're the type of person who needs to try this meal!

Our meal was very similar if not identical  to Dark Star's (post #770) right down to the fact that we didn't try any of the four dipping sauces, because there was so much flavor already happening that there was no need for anything else.  It felt like Little Serow collided with Bangkok Golden and a wonderful hybrid was created.  So many bright flavors mixing with the heat from the various peppers and spices made this meal unlike anything I've ever had.  And it was a large meal too!  We couldn't finish off all of dishes in the main course.

A couple things that I remember that weren't mentioned in Dark Star's review:  a lentil dish that could have been some type of meat porridge.  I have no strong feelings about lentils either way, but these were fantastic.  I could have them at every meal (or at least a couple times a week!).  We also got two bowls of kimchi.  One was a more standard cabbage version, but the other was "just" chunks of pickled radish that were the perfect counter to some of the spice from the main dishes.  Again, I'm no fan of radishes, but these were great.

...

My only complaint is that they don't have a printed menu and description of the dishes anywhere.  Thanks to Dark Star for his great effort above!

...

One final note, the price is up to $65 from $60 in Dark Star's post.  Still a great deal for the quantity, quality and uniqueness of the meal.

Fantastic you were able to take advantage of this. We also had the lentil and radish kimchee dishes; think I included those in the admittedly dense report upthread. I actually like lentils very much but we didn't come close to finishing those with all the other great dishes.

Funny thing. I asked about a printed menu also...so I could better share the details. They didn't have one then either but a manager gave me a card and told me he'd email something to me if I wrote. I didn't want to bug him so didn't follow up. But, yeah, they should just print a menu.

It's a great and unique thing they're doing. And, even with the $5 increase to $65/pp, an excellent value also. Sounds like it has become deservedly very popular. Really glad you enjoyed it!

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WARNING: You must be brave to have this dish $29

Can't argue with the content of the warning but I can't imagine a lot of people are ordering it with no additional information.

Soup Number 5.

(I'd say Balut, but not at $29.)

This is the regular bistro menu vs the printed Filipino menu we were discussing just upthread, which I think doesn't (yet?) exist.

As for the "You must be brave..." option, it's in the main course section and they must get the question from virtually every table. We never saw this on the recent visit since we went with the fixed $60 menu. From that POV, I'm not sure the mystery dish is even Filipino.

If it was balut, that might cause a bit of a stir. Though, this being America and all, there is of course an organized balut-eating competition.

http://www.balitangamerica.tv/balut-eating-champion-three-peats-in-new-york/

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The Filipino menu will (eventually) be featured in a new restaurant from the Armstrongs on the Southwest waterfront. Unfortunately, it won't be until 2018, but it's pretty exciting news for that area. I'm not waiting three years - I need to head down to Eve and try it out sometime soon!

Very cool! The more good spots that open in SW for pre and post Nats games, Arena Stage and, soon, soccer, the better.

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First time to Restaurant Eve last week, for a special occasion dinner. We ordered the tasting menu and received a printed copy at the end (since misplaced, but very similar to the current one [pdf]). I can't remember the last time I had food where the flavors of each dish's ingredients came through so clearly. The beef dish we had featured some sort of specially roasted garlic cloves"”after the first bite we looked at each other and both expressed that it seemed bland. But then we tried it with bites of the garlic, and it was perfection. There wasn't too much on the plate, but everything there was essential, and that's how the whole dinner felt.

Get the softshell crab and foie gras while you can.

post-2-0-37173900-1440047084_thumb.png

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When a friend asked for a Bushmill's at Restaurant Eve's bar the other night, the barman loudly responded "We don't serve that Protestant whiskey". A few minutes later, chef/owner Cathal Armstrong walked through the bar and when told that a customer had requested Bushmill's, repeated the same thing.  While I recognize that religion and politics are volatile issues, and the establishment has every right to serve or not serve whatever products it chooses, I don't think it's appropriate to treat any customer (especially one who happens to be Catholic and born a few miles from the Bushmill's distillery) so offensively.

Interestingly, Bushmill's, one of the oldest distillers in Ireland, had been owned for many years by Diageo, a large British-based international company which owns dozens of brands worldwide. Bushmill's is now owned by Casa Cuervo.  I doubt that either Diageo or Cuervo consider themselves "Protestant owners".

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Not to disregard your experience and reaction, but   "We don't serve that Protestant whiskey"  or alternatively "We don't serve that Catholic whiskey" are phrases that  that have been around in certain bars, and possibly more specific ethnic neighborhood bars in the States for decades....lots of decades.

OTOH, even though I'm aware of that, I believe if I heard it today, or wasn't in some particularly ethnic neighborhood  wherein I was familiar with the ethos, I'd at least be surprised to hear it....

In fact, reading about it now is somewhat surprising and reading about it with regard to a bar and neighborhood wherein I was not aware of a specific ethnic bend is additionally surprising.

 Here is a bit of a discussion on the topic. Jeffrey Merganthaler is a well known mixologist/blogger/commentator, and does have some excellent recipes on his blog.

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Interesting... Just looked it up. Seems to be an Irish-American thing rather than an Irish one. Turns out Bushmill's head distiller is a Catholic, ha ha. And the guy who originally made Jameson may have been a protestant.

Maybe it's offensive, depends on tone, I guess. Sounds kind of funny. Like if I tried to order a beef curry at an Indian place, "We don't serve that Islamic dish here"..

-S

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Nice to see that Merganthaler's description and mine jive.  We've heard the same things.  I do know there were neighborhoods in NYC where that phrase could have been commonplace at one time, and I'm pretty sure there are some bar owners down here that might have uttered that phrase back in the day when they were slinging drinks in the NY metro region.

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When a friend asked for a Bushmill's at Restaurant Eve's bar the other night, the barman loudly responded "We don't serve that Protestant whiskey". A few minutes later, chef/owner Cathal Armstrong walked through the bar and when told that a customer had requested Bushmill's, repeated the same thing.  While I recognize that religion and politics are volatile issues, and the establishment has every right to serve or not serve whatever products it chooses, I don't think it's appropriate to treat any customer (especially one who happens to be Catholic and born a few miles from the Bushmill's distillery) so offensively.

Interestingly, Bushmill's, one of the oldest distillers in Ireland, had been owned for many years by Diageo, a large British-based international company which owns dozens of brands worldwide. Bushmill's is now owned by Casa Cuervo.  I doubt that either Diageo or Cuervo consider themselves "Protestant owners".

I never knew of Bushmill's until going out years ago with a neighbor-friend who is somewhat of Irish descent and very, very Catholic.  This is someone who got angry with me one day (it might have been St. Pat's) because I was wearing an orange shirt.  Bushmill's was always his drink.  He provided some very elaborate discourse on Jameson's vs. Bushmill's, as he has always been brilliant and quite very much so at discourse. (You should hear him on baseball.)  I never quite understood the difference myself but tend to like Jameson's more.

That seems like an odd stance for a restaurant to take.  Saying simply:  "We don't serve that here" would get the point across.  You know, like "No Coke. Pepsi."

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When a friend asked for a Bushmill's at Restaurant Eve's bar the other night, the barman loudly responded "We don't serve that Protestant whiskey". A few minutes later, chef/owner Cathal Armstrong walked through the bar and when told that a customer had requested Bushmill's, repeated the same thing.  While I recognize that religion and politics are volatile issues, and the establishment has every right to serve or not serve whatever products it chooses, I don't think it's appropriate to treat any customer (especially one who happens to be Catholic and born a few miles from the Bushmill's distillery) so offensively.

Interestingly, Bushmill's, one of the oldest distillers in Ireland, had been owned for many years by Diageo, a large British-based international company which owns dozens of brands worldwide. Bushmill's is now owned by Casa Cuervo.  I doubt that either Diageo or Cuervo consider themselves "Protestant owners".

For a restaurant of this caliber, this should never have happened, especially from the owner!

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For a restaurant of this caliber, this should never have happened, especially from the owner! 

It is:

1) cultural

2) kind of funny

3) absolutely harmless

4) without malice or bad nature

5) spoken without even a second thought

6) incredible that people are complaining about it

7) something I remain open-minded about to differing opinions.

And I went to Sunday School at Colesville Baptist Church growing up.

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Though it would surprise me if the comment wasn't meant as a joke,it seems as though the bartender and chef could have made it clearer that it was "kind of funny" and "without malice."  Especially in upscale joints, there can be a tendency to assume that the staff is being snotty when they're actually just trying to be funny.  I don't know, I wasn't there.

But, religion aside, there may be good reason to avoid Jameson's.

When the Brown brothers opened The Passenger in 2009, they purposely didn't carry Jameson, which was still hot then. "Jameson is a breakfast whiskey," explains Tom Brown, "and we're only open for dinner."

Jameson was also getting more expensive as it became more mainstream. "Every douchebag in the world started drinking Jameson," says Derek Brown, who nonetheless still enjoys an occasional shot of it. "It's like one of those things where you're like, "˜I don't know. Do I want to be drinking Jameson if that guy's drinking Jameson? Because that guy has date rape and vomit written all over him, and I'm not into that.'" 

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For a restaurant of this caliber, this should never have happened, especially from the owner! 

The history behind this is far more significant and severe than when viewed as a "cute" bar phrase.

During the periods when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was at its most active (and violent) it was considered as either a terrorist organization or a liberation movement depending on point of view and where one grew up.  The phrases "We don't serve that Protestant Whiskey", or conversely "We don't serve that Irish Whiskey" was certainly said with seriousness in certain areas in the US, especially those with large Irish populations.  There are Irish neighborhoods in the outer boroughs of NYC in Queens and the Bronx where I know the "We don't serve that Protestant Whiskey" phrase would have been stated with a lot of meaning at various times over the decades.  In various places it was not a trite or insignificant phrase.

There are rather famous Americans of Irish decent who were accused or suspected of supporting the IRA.  The push for Irish independence was very strong at various times and the independence movement in modern times has been pursued for about 100 years.   The history is simply not insignificant.  I knew what would be the British Army equivalent of a Seal or Green Beret and confronted the IRA.  What occurred is what we experience vis a vis "terrorism" today.

But the terms have spread outside of tight ethnic neighborhoods and in that vein their meaning and the initially intended seriousness gets watered down from their origins.  I think it was surprising to hear it at a place such as Restaurant Eve.

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I'm the original poster, and I'm horrified to find myself disagreeing with DR. But here goes: Our party of 6 has probably averaged a couple of dozen visits a year to Armstrong establishments, so we're not new to the environment. If the comment was intended humorously, it certainly didn't come across that way, especially after it was repeated to an obviously offended customer in front of 6 stunned friends. In this day and age, I'm not sure I'd consider any loud insinuation by a bartender or wait staff about a customer's race, religion, political inclinations or preferences to be funny, no matter how harmlessly or thoughtlessly intended. I certainly wouldn't accept it the other way around, from a customer to staff! The friend who asked for the Bushmll's is Catholic, and from Northern Ireland where she lived through and has vivid memories of "the Troubles", so I'm inclined not to make allowances for it being a cultural thing. And the fact that it may have been spoken (and repeated) without malice or a second thought doesn't make it OK. Finally, I think that actions and language I would expect and tolerate at a shot-and-a-beer neighborhood bar in Boston or Brooklyn are out of place at Eve.

Not trying to beat a dead horse. I appreciate the education I got on this from Dave O and others, and not looking for anything from Eve. Posted only in the spirit of "know before you go"' as there be others like me, who might be discomfited to find themselves in a possibly-challenging situation. If I ever find myself back in an Armstrong bar, I'll stick to bourbon!

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