Wednesday, September 26, 2012

E2 dinner with family and friends

Last night we had another spectacular and delicious meal at e2, the unique and funky eatery in Highland Park. Our daughter Alison and son-in-law Germaine joined us for a dinner with our friend Lela, visiting from California. Alison and Germaine practically live at this place so they had no trouble making choices from the menu but the rest of us struggled to make choices between so many attractive options.

Alison was pleased to note that with the onset of fall Arancini ($10) were back after a hiatus for the summer. These  are wonderful little balls of rice and mushrooms that are breaded and deep fried (how could that be bad?) and served in a slightly spicy red sauce with shaved cheese. An order consists of three nice sized balls and was perfect for our table of 5. Also ordered with appetizers: White Beans with Parsley. Served with a generous pile of grilled bread, this is a mild but flavorful way to start off the meal.

Incidentally, e2 has no liquor license so feel free to bring your own bottle. The $6 corkage is a good trade against adding $30 or $40 to your meal. We brought a bottle of Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc which was delicious.

On to the main courses:
When  I was here with the No Rules Eating Club it was the middle of ramp season and e2 had gone a little crazy (in a good way) with using those wild garlics in a variety of dishes. I had a pasta dish that included ramps, pancetta and other goodies in a cream sauce and it was spectacular. Well, no ramps this time but the Campenelle ($18) with corn, bacon, wild mushrooms and greens in a cream sauce was a delicious alternative. Campenelle, which means bell  in Italian, are an uncommon pasta consisting of a wide noodle which is rolled into a bell shape with frilled edges. The whole "mess" (as Kate Romane, the chef, would put it) was a rich melange of tastes that came together beautifully. Although I've said cream sauce it is much lighter than any sort of alfredo and there is no cheese present.

Grilled Prosciutto
Two other folks went  for the Meatballs in Red Sauce with Spaghetti ($13). The meatballs were dense and meaty with excellent flavor. Alison went for one of her favorites, an appetizer of Grilled Prosciutto ($9) stuffed with mozarella and basil. The prosciutto is rolled up with the cheese and basil inside and then grilled until crisp. Served with red sauce and shaved asiago, this is hearty fare and certainly worked as a main course for her.

Lela picked the Olive and Caper Tapenade along with the Beet and  Arugula Salad ($9). I can attest to the appeal of the Tapenade, served with more grilled bread. Rich and salty, we took the little bit left over home to enjoy today. The salad was large with a nice helping of beets and cheese and dressed with a honey vinaigrette.

No meal at e2 is complete without one or more of their fabulous, homemade desserts. In fact, if you're eating there on a crowded night you might want to get your dessert order in before ordering your dinner--just to make sure they don't run out.

Salted Caramel  Apple Crostata
We picked Salted Caramel Apple Crostata a la Mode ($6) along with  Chocolate Ganache Tart ($6). Both were great although my "I would order that again in a heartbeat" award goes to the Caramel Apple. Flaky pastry wrapped up the apple filling and the whole crostata was drizzled with caramel. Alongside were cooked apple slices and two scoops of vanilla ice cream, also drizzled with caramel. Wow, that was tasty. The Chocolate Ganache Tart was a dense dark chocolate cake served with whipped cream. Although it was terrific it was similar to other dense chocolate cakes I've had.

All in all, another unique and delicious meal filled with unexpected tastes. E2 is also good value for the money given the quailty of the food. A bill of something over $100 for five people is a deal in my book.

E2 is part of a wonderful revival of Bryant street in Highland Park--certainly as far as restaurants are concerned. Park Bruge is down the street and we noticed that Teppanyaki Kyoto has opened across the street. We'll  need to check that one out.

E2 on Urbanspoon

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