BiteClub, Closed

Restaurant Eloise

Showing their passion for oft-overlooked cuts (as well as more everyday eats) into their French-Mediterranean menu, young husband-and-wife chefs Eric Korsh and Ginevra Iverson have created a comforting mix of old-meets-new school dishes at the recently opened Restaurant Eloise in Sebastopol.

RESTAURANT ELOISE CLOSED IN 2009.

Roasted bone marrow. Sweetbreads. Head cheese charcuterie.
You’re either following along with a dribble of drool or I’ve lost you
altogether. Hey, you’re either a fan of Fergus or you’re not.
I’m
talking about nose-to-tail eating, the waste-not, want-not food
movement recently popularized by Fergus Henderson and adopted by a new
generation of chefs (and eaters) savoring the wobbly, wiggly organ meats our penny-pinching great-grandmothers once coveted. It’s challenge food for even the most experienced eaters, but once you go offal, you never go back.
Showing
their passion for oft-overlooked cuts (as well as more everyday eats)
into their French-Mediterranean menu, young husband-and-wife chefs Eric
Korsh and Ginevra Iverson have created a comforting mix of old-meets-new school dishes at the recently opened Restaurant Eloise in Sebastopol.

Housed in the revamped Bistro V space on Gravenstein Highway, the former Brooklynites (both ex-Prune staffers) aren’t mincing around with the foods they’re passionate about.
In their first weeks, Eric bought 50 pounds of bone marrow despite the
fact that he wasn’t totally sure the dish would sell. It has, in
spades. On a busy Tuesday night, plates of sizzling bone, toasted dark bread and parsley salad were one of the hottest tickets in Sebastopol. Really.
And why not? The warm, creamy marrow ($13) topped with a sprinkle of salt flakes is butter’s evil twin. Sharing the spotlight are crispy sweetbreads and pickled vegetables with
raisin-mustard vinaigrette ($14). Rolled in panko breadcrumbs, they’re
light and fluffy rather than, uh, dare I say, Burger King
chicken-nugget-esque. Sweetbread fans know what I’m talking about.
Other openers include fresh puntarelle (a lettuce grown out back) with chopped egg and candied bacon ($12), marinated sardines, octopus and white anchovy salad ($13) and, from the bar menu spicy boiled crawfish with butter ($10). BiteClub sadly missed out on the charcuterie plate of veal tongue, head cheese and foie gras ($6-$15).
Second courses are a bit pricier, but in line with the level of execution and
commitment to local products. It’s a tough call for chefs to use
pricier regional artisan foods rather than rock-bottom suppliers
because patrons don’t always appreciate the difference, or the price.
Eloise’s menu doesn’t gush on about local ingredients, but GM Brian Howe (who works the room like a champ) will talk you through the pedigrees with confidence.

BiteClub Senior (aka my mom) described the milk-poached dayboat halibut
with a dreamy butter sauce, greenbeans and onions ($26) saying, “Honey,
there’s fish and there’s this.” She kind of melted into a reverie after
that. Having recently returned from a food tour of France, I took it to
mean the halibut approached her exacting standards. Also solid is the pan-roasted veal chop stuffed with Pecorino cheese,
a side of spinach and crispy potato galette ($31). BiteClub ordered it
medium rare and the cheese was still hard inside — a quick whisk away
and it returned soft, fragrant and with the chef’s personal apology.
Nice touch. Also on the menu: Ricotta gnocchi with swiss chard and King trumpet mushrooms, sanddabs ($25) with artichokes and brown butter, rack of lamb and a whole Maine lobster
with tarragon butter (a steal at $36). A daily special of Porterhouse
steak for two appeases the pickiest of meat-and-potatoes eaters.
Dessert, which is often either an afterthought or overambitious, is brilliantly basic. Baba rum ($9) is rum-soaked brioche laden with Chantilly cream. Even better are warm sugared doughnuts in a puddle of raspberry jam (more sauce than jam – $9).
The
compact wine list nods to SoCo, Anderson Valley and Napa with plenty of
by-the-glass pours. Pull up a craft-brew and deviled eggs at the cozy
bar, or simply order a first course or two. With impeccable
service, a comfy location and a talented tag-team in the kitchen odds
are on Restaurant Eloise as a new Wine Country classic.
Whether you’re a fan or Fergus or not.
Restaurant Eloise: Now CLOSED

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Comments

4 thoughts on “Restaurant Eloise

  1. Ate at Eloise for the first time last night, a friend treated me for my birthday. We made it special, and an opportunity to sample more dishes, by having the 5 course tasting menu with wine pairing.
    Our five courses included the octopus/sardine starter, swiss chard gnocchi with brown butter, sweetbreads (a first for us) with a wonderful cider-bacon sauce, skate (the evening special) with a sauce Grenoblise, and for dessert, two things to try: panna cotta with fresh red grapefruit and candied grapefruit, and a lovely lemon crepe. As full as we were that crepe had us squirming in our seats, it was so delightful.
    I really enjoyed the evening at Eloise and hope to go back.

  2. Check out their Recession Special on Wednesday: Wallet feeling a little light these days? Come on in Wednesday nights and take advantage of this deal: Three-course menu for the paltry sum of $35 dollars. In addition, we are waving our corkage fee.

  3. I have dinned in 11 countries. Eloise gave me one of the most enjoyable experience of my life. Eloise is a must for anyone with a sense of adventure in food. And a must for anyone who appreciates perfect service. Thank you so much Eric and Ginevra..I will be back.

  4. Posted By: Michelle Rumfola (26/08/2008 9:57:47 PM)
    Comment: So glad to see that others are enjoying it as we did last weekend. Felt like the room was packed, but all was running smoothly–waitstaff were kind, funny and seemed to be sparking off the energy of the busy night. For veg, try the puntarelle starter–hey, hey greens you can really sin your teeth into. And fish lovers, the fish stew, so satifying. Carnivores MUST ABSOLUTELY order the bone marrow, verdict is out and I am only reiterating what others have said, but this is a mouth-watering treat! Bravo to chef/owners and we wish them the best. Thank you for working hard to stay open 6 days a week! Incredible!
    Posted By: Food Fan (11/08/2008 8:20:16 AM)
    Comment: West County now has a restaurant that really measures up. A totally wonderful experience, from the moment we walked through the door. On Saturday, the bar tender greeted us with a genuine Hello in an Aussie voice and paid attention to us throughout the meal, as he appears to double as the sommelier. The hostess was polite, yet friendly. Our waitress was VERY good, always accommodating and able to make useful suggestions on menu choices. (Note: She was from WCG. Too bad she never waited on us there.) The entire staff seemed to be at our service, but it was completely unobtrusive, just as you would like. Started with one of their Bellini’s made with fresh fruit from their garden behind the restaurant. Yum! The food was wonderful, far more than we were expecting. Yes, we were hoping for the best, but so many have disappointed us in the recent past. We enjoyed the foie gras, hamachi sashimi, and the leek au gratin for starters. The veal chop was as good as previously reported, and there was a nice cassoulet special, too. Yes, the wine list is small, but it is quite servicable and we found a Hamel Pinot Noir that was exceptional. They have hit the ground running. This was a great experience for us and we will return. We wish this new restaurant much success and a long run. Glad you are here. We need you.
    Posted By: John M (06/08/2008 7:10:50 PM)
    Comment: We (3 of us) at there last night and loved it. 2 of us don’t eat meat and had no problems. I thought the prices were pretty reasonable considering the imagination and quality. jm
    Posted By: big d (06/08/2008 12:23:22 PM)
    Comment: We ate there last night, as a matter of fact I think our party was seated next to Bite Club and Mom. Nicely remodelled space, GREAT food and excellent service, on the pricey side but worth it – especially if you are in the mood to splurge. Don’t let this review give you the impression that the place is all meat all the time – I don’t eat any beef or pork and still found plenty to choose from on the menu. The Gnocchi was sublime. For those moaning the demise of West County Grill, I urge you to check out Eloise. We’ll be back soon.
    Response: Uh oh. My inner T-Rex is showing. Thanks for the input. You’re right.
    Posted By: NT (06/08/2008 10:56:41 AM)
    Comment: Good for them. I work in the industry, live in Sebastopol, and I am really hoping to see this restaurant succeed. I know someone who works there who has said how lovely and kind all of the staff is, and how great it feels to work there. Higher-end dining is a scary proposition in Sebastopol, for owners as well as the servers and bartenders and cooks who put their hopes into a place that charges more than a few bucks per plate. I hope there are as many locals as there are tourists who will come and enjoy this restaurant and make all of Restaurant Eloise’s efforts worthwhile. Can’t wait to get in myself for dinner.
    Posted By: Dani (06/08/2008 10:54:23 AM)
    Comment: My husband and I had dinner here and LOVED it. The food was perfect and the service excellent. I look forward to dining here again.

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