While this BuyCincy staffer might be slightly biased (I’m one of the organizers), the debut Cincinnati E.A.T.S. event at Lavomatic last night was fabulous! This multigenerational, casual dining club is sure to keep selling out.
The premise was simple: Socialize while eating at one of the city’s excellent local, independent restaurants. Attorney Clint Watson, along with a few fellow social gastronomes, wanted to to introduce people to Cincinnati’s most underappreciated art: cuisine.
Last night’s debut Cincinnati E.A.T.S. event, a benefit for 7 Days for SIDS at Lavomatic Cafe in Over-the-Rhine, went smashingly well. The food was good, the turnout diverse, and the ambiance quite friendly. Watson didn’t want E.A.T.S. to be labeled a YP group (because the last thing this city needs is another YP group!), and thankfully, it wasn’t. The crowd was a nice mix of foodies from all over the region, some of whom said they hadn’t been to OTR in years! Most people came in pairs, and many came as singles, so the majority of diners were sitting next to people they didn’t know. A few dozen people stuck around for more drinks and conversation after dinner with their new foodie friends.
My table had no complaints. In fact, they said little at all after their main dishes arrived. Only the occasional moan escaped a diner’s lips. Both of Chef Joanne Drilling’s entrees — the farro with asparagus and carrot puree and the (local, free-range!) chicken with harissa, zucchini and a chickpea cake — were hits. Even my boyfriend finished the chilled cucumber dill soup, the two main ingredients of which are on his short list of food aversions.
After dessert, more than one person admitted that they’d been disappointed when they found out it would be a meringue. We imagined something chewy, eggy, dense. Apparently, we’d only had meringues-gone-wrong.
This pistachio pavlova was light and airy, despite the summer humidity. Each sweet and crunchy bite literally melted in your mouth, and the accompanying lemon curd, strawberries and rhubarb were perfect summer flavors.
No details have been set for the next event, but judging from the overwhelmingly positive responses last night, Cincinnati E.A.T.S. will be around for awhile. (Photos to come. Camera was inadvertantly left at the office.)