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EARLY BIRD: EVA RESTAURANT

At Mark Gold's Eva, expert cooking for the right price

The restaurant on Beverly Boulevard, which also has a smart wine list, has the right appeal for its Westside neighborhood too.

October 12, 2009|S. IRENE VIRBILA | RESTAURANT CRITIC

After Mark Gold left Leatherby's Cafe Rouge in Costa Mesa, where he earned three stars for the Patina Group restaurant in the Orange County Performing Arts Center, he started looking for a space to open his own place. Not easy. I heard he was scouring the Westside, looking here, there, everywhere. But then he got lucky. Karen and Quinn Hatfield of Hatfield's in L.A. decided they wanted a larger space and nabbed the former Red Pearl restaurant, (i.e., the original Citrus) on Melrose Avenue.

Gold made his move and a few weeks ago took over the sweet little space that had been Hatfield's, which also, it turns out, includes a back garden that the Hatfields never got around to using. Without much ado or redecorating, Eva restaurant, named for Gold's grandmother, opened. The splashy modern chandelier is gone (maybe to the Hatfields' living room?). Gold moved in a tall case of cookbooks, outfitted the waiters in pale gray knit sweater vests and voila, Eva was up and running.

The menu is small, only a handful of appetizers and about the same number of mains. And the prices are low for the level of quality the kitchen puts out, not only in terms of ingredients but also the cooking, which is extremely skilled and spot-on. How many times have you been to a restaurant where the dishes come out way better than you're expecting?

From October's menu, try the delightful burrata ravioli with fresh corn in a butter glaze with summer truffle shavings. A slurried onion soup garnished with tiny pickled chanterelles is surprising and delicious. So is the silky foie gras terrine with salted melon.

Gold reinterprets linguini and clams with springy udon noodles and littleneck clams, reducing the clam juice to make the sauce even more intense. Hokkaido scallop is wonderful too, lit up with fiery chorizo and orange and served with Spanish rice.

He's particularly adept with fish, so that is highly recommended too.

The wine list is small but smart. In short, Eva Restaurant comes in at the right price with the right appeal for the neighborhood (two doors away from BLD).

I should add that Eva also does lunch.

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virbila@latimes.com

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Eva

Where: 7458 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles.

When: Open for lunch Tuesdays to Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner Tuesdays to Thursdays from 5:30 to 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Sunday "dinner party" is 2 to 9 p.m. Wine and beer. Valet parking.

Price: Dinner appetizers, $9 to $14; main courses, $16 to $23; cheese selection, $14; desserts, $7.50.

Contact: (323) 634-0700; www.evarestaurantla.com.

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