Coming soon: An elevated, and singular, Restaurant Eve

Restaurant Eve's hopes the seventh time's the charm with this year's James Beard Award nomination. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post) Cathal Armstrong. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

The appeal of Restaurant Eve has long been three-fold: Patrons have been able to eat well in its bar, its bistro and its exclusive tasting room. But what’s great for diners hasn’t been easy for the kitchen, says Cathal Armstrong, the executive chef and co-owner.

“We have 63 dishes” on the combined menus, he says. “It’s too much.”

Beginning October 21, the Alexandria dining destination will become one formal, 90-seat attraction. Its many menus will be replaced by an a la carte selection of eight appetizers and eight main courses, and tasting menu options of five or seven courses. The change, says Armstrong, is going to “reduce the quantity and increase the quality” of both food and service.

Frette linens and silver utensils -- distinguishing characteristics of the tasting room -- will grace every table in the rethought plan for the space, which does not include price hikes. Guests can also expect more tableside preparation and interaction with the servers, adds the chef, who recently announced plans to return to the kitchen six nights a week when his chef de cuisine, Jeremy Hoffman, leaves this winter.

In other news, Restaurant Eve quietly resurrected Monday service Sept. 16.

“We’ve learned a million things in 10 years,” says Armstrong.  Among the lessons: “We’ve got to change” to stay on top.

@tomsietsema

Weaned on a beige buffet a la “Fargo” in Minnesota, Tom Sietsema is the food critic for The Washington Post. This is his second tour of duty at the Post. Sietsema got his first taste in the ‘80s, when he was hired by his predecessor to answer phones, write some, and test the bulk of the Food section’s recipes. That’s how he learned to clean squid, bake colonial cakes and distinguish between nutmeg and mace.

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Tim Carman · September 16, 2013