I’ve seen the clean diet touted everywhere from within cancer-free cookbooks to trendy food blogs. But the first time I’ve seen it celebrated in restaurant form is at Eve, which opened last fall in the former Old School Frozen Custard space in Fremont.
Owners Jill Buchanan (co-owner of Lecosho) and Debra Russell (a former server at Lecosho) enlisted New York City chef Jason McCollum (formerly of the much heralded New York eatery Momofuku) to fulfill their vision of eating clean. In the diet’s simplest form, this consists of eating whole, unprocessed foods with an emphasis on vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.
Sound like every other farm-to-fork restaurant in Seattle? Sort of, but Eve favors ghee (clarified butter) and coconut oil over bacon or duck fat, and the commitment to imaginative veggies—a big food trend, regardless of clean eating—is evident in large sections of the menu (“Greens and Things,” “Hot Veggies”). Even the decor shies away from the au courant monochromatic minimalism. Here, colorful Oriental rugs cover concrete floors, and the walls are decorated with black calligraphy and a painting of a pink pomegranate.
Still, some dishes are clean to a fault: A shaved squash salad lacks flavor; a crab noodle entrée has too much heat and not much else. Stick to McCollum’s sautés, such as the crispy, umami-evoking chicken fried barley ($18). Mad Hatcher chicken is marinated in house-infused mushroom soy sauce and then fried with barley using ghee, which lends a super-nutty richness. I also love the mixed mushrooms ($18) with roasted fennel, radicchio and pickled onion. It hit every pleasure receptor, and the warm poached egg on top added creamy depth.
Service was spotty on one of my two visits, but Eve should thrive because there is something on the menu for every restricted eater in your party—from the vegan and the vegetarian to the carnivore and the gluten-averse. Oh, and the clean eater. Fremont, 704 N 34 St.; 206.900.7186; evefremont.com