Two years ago this month, Eve co-owners Debra Russell and Jill Buchanan created their restaurant’s famous hot bowl after a decade of nostalgic cravings. The dish pays homage to the Capitol Hill juice joint Gravity Bar (open from 1986 to 2005), which was one of Russell’s favorite spots. Its simple menu, she notes, was “ahead of its time.” The restaurant served bowls of raw and steamed veggies over rice with a glorious lemon tahini—something no one else was doing then. And while grain bowls abound in today’s diverse culinary scene, Eve is offering something that stands out against hot competition.
When Eve opened in 2015, Russell and Buchanan wanted to craft their first dish in homage to that beloved Gravity Bar bowl, but with a few twists. Ancient grains, crunchy nuts and seeds, toasted rice, and crisp, succulent veggies, such as piping hot green beans, carrots and earthy-sweet golden beets, make up the hefty Eve hot bowl—with the option of a perfectly gooey poached egg.
But the pièce de résistance is the thorough incorporation of their two delicate, house-made dressings: sesame vinaigrette for the grain, sherry vinaigrette for the vegetables. Each bite packs a powerful punch of umami and somehow, despite the exclusion of dairy, a creamy butter flavor comes through when the vinaigrettes mingle with the other ingredients. “I like to call it a blast to the senses,” says Jon Norgren, who until recently was Eve’s chef, and who lent a hand during construction, literally helping to build the restaurant from the ground up. The bowl is changed seasonally, he says, with ingredients chosen based on peak freshness. Russell lovingly sighs, “It’s just a bowl of goodness.”
Photograph by chustine minoda. Debra Russell (left) and Jill Buchanan dress up the clean-eating grain bowl at Eve.
Warm, balanced and intentional all describe Eve’s menu, and those themes are echoed in the space’s bright and refined casual interior, which the co-owners designed themselves. It’s the perfect Saturday brunch spot, but equally well suited for a business lunch or, in the glow of sunset, a moody dinner date. No matter what time of day you stop in, you can cozy up with the Fremont eatery’s signature dish, the Eve hot bowl. And yes, you can and should put an egg on it.
Spice Up Your Life
When customizing a spice blend to add to your homemade version of the bowl, pay attention to the season and your dietary needs. To incorporate immunity-supporting herbs as chillier weather rolls in, add turmeric and ginger, which work perfectly in a grain bowl.
Work With Texture
Contrast your firm yet tender veggies and perfectly cooked grains with crunch from nuts, seeds, puffed brown rice or toasted bits, such as sesame seeds, sliced almonds and pumpkin seeds (pepitas).
Keep It Simple
When all else fails, follow your gut, experiment and don’t be afraid to toss in something unexpected.
Eve’s Sesame Vinaigrette recipe
Note: Though it’s used as the grain dressing in the hot bowl, this sesame vinaigrette is versatile and right at home on a salad or other side dish.
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 ounce tamari
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce yuzu
1.2 ounces tahini
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon shallots
2 cloves black garlic
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon ginger
salt to taste
4 ounces non-GMO safflower oil
Place all ingredients but the oil into a blender or food processor and blend thoroughly. Slowly drip in safflower oil, mixing constantly, to emulsify. Makes eight 2-tablespoon servings.