Home to the Cougar Den and competition for Reef: Say hello to the new Eddie V'sat West Ave
There's something about Eddie V's that really sets it apart. Maybe it's the waiters in the throwback white short coats — a visual reminder that you aren't just eating out, you are having an experience.
Maybe it's the flawless design. But I think it's the slightly off-putting realization that every detail has been considered and nothing has been spared in the effort to create a pitch-perfect dining experience.
At the newly opened West Ave Eddie V's, the basic structure of the Eddie V's at CityCentre has been maintained, with a few upgrades. The entrance still opens to the raw oyster bar, but the main bar area has been more integrated into the restaurant with an added elevated lounge seating area next to the rich, textured blue-and-black walls. While the TVs playing sports draw the men and the jazz pianist in the back holds the attention of couples, the lounge is already being dubbed the Cougar Den.
The dining room features bench banquette seating for a more modern, urban feel and the dim lighting is perfect for forgetting that you aren't the only people in the room. I love that the open kitchen is viewable through windows the length of the wall, but glassed off so that the kitchen activity is seen and not heard. The vibe is lively, but not loud, with private rooms that can be opened or hidden as the occasion and capacity dictate, and the live music piped in from the bar area is a nice touch.
We started with the Wagyu beef hot rock, six thin strips of raw beef ready to be flash-cooked on a piping hot stone at the table, then dunked in a light soy sauce. The interactive experience added a playful bent to the meal, and the results were quite tasty.
For a main course the Louisiana red fish cooked meunière style with lump crab was mouthwatering. The fish was cooked perfectly and served in a generous portion. When the fish, the crab and the sauce were assembled into a single bite, the result was a truly mesmerizing combination of sweet, savory and zesty. This is as good as classically prepared seafood gets.
The Pacific Ahi tuna was requested as rare as possible and came out as a cool cube accented with shiitakes, scallions and a mild wasabi-lime vinaigrette. But on tasting the pure, tangy flavor of the tuna took the lead, showcasing restraint in preparation and top-quality ingredients.
We ordered (or perhaps demanded is a more accurate word) the bananas foster cake, which has sent me into paroxysms of sugary glee in the past. But this time there was a less than perfect flaming liquor pour, and not all the ignited liquid made it onto the cake. The melted side was gooey and delicious, but we had to leave an overly dry half behind. It was the one flaw in an excellent meal.
Eddie V's certainly knows their market, and executive chef Robert Rhoades has mastered the balance between creating beautiful dishes and letting the premium ingredients speak for themselves. It's hard to imagine a better fit for West Ave.
If Reef has been the sole standout for upscale seafood in the inner Loop, it has some competition.