Thursday, January 3, 2013


So the occasion? My birthday.  The location? Restaurant Eugene!

It was a Friday night during the Holiday Season when we decided to go to Restaurant Eugene with our daughter.  Here's what you see as you arrive after valeting your car:

Photo Credit: Restaurant Eugene

Photo Credit: Restaurant Eugene
We had 7:00PM reservations, but we arrived a bit early and decided to have a drink in their bar area.  The bartenders were helpful but aloof, but we quickly ordered 3 different specialty drinks.  All were strong but very good.  I didn't really get a pic of the drinks, but here we are with them after being seated.

Here's a better picture of the inside space of the restaurant:

Photo Credit: Restaurant Eugene's Chef Linton Hopkins
 We decided to go with the Tasting Menu with wine pairings.  It was quite the experience!  My photo didn't turn out well at all, so I'm going to try and recreate the experience as best I can.  Here are a couple of sample Tasting Menus:
November 30th, 2012
Watch House Oyster
Caviar, celery root, celery hearts, scallion, champagne pascal janviers, jasnieres, loire valley, france 2011
Foie Gras Au Torchon
Hibiscus sorbet, foie gras powder, pecan puree, pumpkin bread chateau clos du roy, sauternes, france 2010
Carrot Ash Crusted Grouper Sapelo Island Clams, African Squash, Ham Butter
Four graces, willamette valley, oregon 2009
Squab Frisee Aux Lardons Frisee, Farm Egg, Bacon Lardon, Squab Jus
vietti, babera d’asti, piedmont, Italy 2009
Veal Pot Au Feu Radishes, Hakurei Turnips, Roasted Carrots, Beets, Mustard Greens, Consomme
alysian, russian river valley, California 2009

Appalachian White Chocolate, Date Chutney, Spice Oil
hidden ridge 55% slope, sonoma county, California 2007

Sunchoke Mousse Mocha Ganache, Georgia Olive Oil, Sourdough
Rare wine co. madeira new york special reserve

Chef’s Tasting December 30th, 2012

lobster bisque caviar, lobster, sherry pascal janviers, jasnières, loire valley, france 2011 ___________________

foie gras au torchon apple sorbet, foie gras powder, pecan puree, pumpkin bread

clos du roy, sauternes, france 2005 (30 supplement / 15 pairing) _______________________

carrot ash crusted grouper apalachicola clams, crisp kale, african squash, ham butter

four graces, willamette valley, oregon 2011 
piedmont squab cauliflower, bacon lardon, pumpernickel crisp,

squab jus alysian, russian river valley, california 2009 (20 supplement / 10 pairing) 
veal pot au feu

turnips, carrots, cipollini onions, petite mache, consommé les cadranes de lassegue, st. emilion, france 2008
pierre robert

white chocolate, date chutney, spice oil olivier leflaive, « les sétilles », burgundy, france 2010
sweet potato éclair chocolate eggnog, spiced pecans, french curry warre’s otima, 10 yr tawny, porto, portugal

After meeting our waiter, and choosing the Tasting Menu, we were served a "gift" from the chef.  It was a delicious drink concoction topped with buttermilk foam.  Really outstanding.

Next course was the "salad" - for the life of me I can't tell you what was in this bite sized portion, but it had layers of flavors that left us wanting more.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
 We were served wines with each course that enhanced the experience immensely.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
 This next course was a creamy dish with egg yolk served in an egg shell.  It was outstanding.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Next course was the oyster course topped with caviar.  It was a bit "fishy" for my taste, but still good.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue 
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
The veal with sweetbreads - delish, but not a fan of the sweetbreads in general.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

One of the best dishes was a fennel ash crusted grouper.  It was fabulous.

Photo Credit: Restaurant Eugene

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
The above dessert was TO DIE FOR! Sunchoke Mousse Mocha Ganache, Georgia Olive Oil, Sourdough
Rare wine co. madeira new york special reserve

All in all it was a one of a kind, decadent experience.  Not sure I'd go there again?  I didn't love the atmosphere (Bacchanalia has so much more ambiance), and the waitstaff was a bit snotty.  Food was brought out in a robotic way with each server rattling off the ingredients so quickly that you had no idea what you were going to be eating after they left.  Again, compared to Bacchanalia, where the servers fall all over themselves treating you like royalty, here they were distant.  We could barely hear our waiter too - had to ask him to repeat himself several times.  It was not a relaxed, comfortable dining evening.

Still, the food was very good, and it was a great experience pairing each dish with wines, but for 3 people to spend (with tip) close to $500, I'd like to say that it was one of my favorites.  Alas, it was not.

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