French ginger-liqueur Domaine de Canton sponsored a cocktail pairing dinner at well-known Alexandria, Va., spot Restaurant Eve on July 9, as part of a series of dinners Domaine has been hosting around the country. After some light bites and a bubbly drink — made with Canton, pineapple, bitter orange peels, Virginia fizz, and orange bitters — in the restaurant’s tasting room, food industry workers, media, and invited guests sat down for our four-course meal. This was my first trip to Restaurant Eve, and I was more-than impressed.
Restaurant Eve is located on Pitt Street, just off of Old Town Alexandria’s main artery, King Street. After stepping through a green, wooden door and traveling down a stone walkway that makes you feel like you might step foot in a real secret garden, you enter the restaurant via a door on your right.
This dinner was held in the restaurant’s tasting room, which is down the hall and on the right. Chef de cuisine Jeremy Hoffman (formerly of New York City’s Per Se) curated the main courses. The first was a sashimi dish that complemented the ginger Canton, lillet blanc, plums, basil air, and coconut bitters concoction — the drink was called "Most of It Is From the Garden," a not-so-subtle nod to the restaurant’s dedication to true farm-to-table cuisine, that was served alongside it.
The second plate (and my personal favorite) — a butter-poached Maine lobster with carrot-vanilla coulis, shaved serrano peppers, and lime yogurt — was paired with a Canton, gin, lime juice, carrots, and vanilla cocktail. I loved dipping the lobster in sauce and experiencing a range of different flavors, including sweet and spicy, with every bite. The drink was this gorgeous orange hue, but tasted like a carrot-based Bloody Mary and was a little much for my sweet-flavors-preferred palate.
The third dish, a squab with Virginia peach, roasted onions, and Harissa squab jus, was tender and juicy. The cocktail — Canton, rum, peaches, lavender, and peach bitters — tasted like it was the strongest and was garnished with tiny little lavender flowers that made for a nice touch.
My favorite pairing of the night was a dessert of fresh strawberries with brioche and lemon verbena ice cream and a cocktail made out of Canton, Canton-preserved strawberries, sullin, and ginger-spiked whey. Both the dish and the cocktail were sweet enough without ever being cloying. The brioche was both soft and crispy, and the cocktail maintained a sweet strawberry flavor without being overwhelming. My cocktail pairing dinner will be a night I’ll remember for a long time to come. And if you’re wondering if you should hit up Restaurant Eve if you’re in the Washington, D.C. area, you should. Not only is the food fantastic, but the service is out-of-this-world good. The waiters come by frequently, are never intrusive, and when I left the table briefly, they even brought me a new, freshly folded napkin.