A meal at Emmer & Rye is a haven for the food enthusiast. With a menu that is innovated on the daily and with a passion for maximizing local ingredients, this small tapas restaurant's prowess for capturing the summit of flavor and customer service is unrivaled.
In addition to Emmer & Rye's vignettes of food, one of the interesting qualities that draws customers in is its incorporation of circulating food carts (somewhat reminiscent of dim sum service) to highlight nightly specials. I was skeptical of what the proportionality would be like between the food portions and the pricing; however, for someone who enjoys eating more than she should, I definitely did not leave hungry nor unsatisfied. Below are some of the high and low points of my Emmer & Rye experience.
I made a weekend dinner reservation at Emmer & Rye for my boyfriend and I. Upon our arrival, it was quite crowded, so I highly recommend making a reservation in advance to avoid the wait. As suggested by our waiter, we ordered 3-4 plates each. Before I pinpoint my favorite dishes of the night, let me preface the following information by saying that Emmer & Rye's food items change constantly, so dishes mentioned here may or may not be available at a later date. Nonetheless, here is a comprehensive list of some of our ordered dishes:
Cured Mackerel, Charred Fennel Broth, Basil, Pecans, Bread Crumbs - $11
Cacio e Pepe Spaghetti, Blue Beard Duram, Challerhocker, Aster - $16
Roasted Beets, Citrus, Pine - $6
White Sonoran & Sea Island Pea Johnny Cakes, Pork, Cabbage, Cheddar, Crème Fraiche - $6
Sweet Potato, Brown Butter Espuma, Chile - $6
Beef Tartare, Fermented Black Bean, Garlic Chive, Chile, Rice Cracker - $4
First and foremost, we probably could have gone without the beef tartare dish, but to each his or her own. However, the showstoppers of the night were unanimously decided to be the roasted beets, the cured mackerel, and the pasta dish.
The roasted beets are definitely a must-try. The combination of sweetness from the juicy, sliced peaches and the red beet's earthy flavor was surprisingly synergetic and bright. Not to mention, the wedge of cheese crowned the flavor combination off with its creamy texture and nutty undertones.
I am not sure which I loved more - the cured mackerel or the charred fennel broth that it was swimming in. It felt more as if we were eating fennel broth with cured mackerel rather than the other way around, but the tasty flavors had us addicted. Despite the mackerel being overshadowed by the broth in magnitude, on a holistic scale, the refreshing flavors compensated for this shortcoming. The important thing is, we left the plate spotless.
Lastly, the cacio e pepe spaghetti was probably the best dish we ordered off the menu that night. Of the 6-8 small plates we ordered and received, the pasta dish definitely gave our dinner course some rich, buttery gravitas.
If you are a foodie and are looking for good eats to embellish a special occasion or want to experience a fresh take on characters of flavors, I highly recommend visiting Emmer & Rye. This restaurant houses a relaxing ambience, attentive customer service, and crafts portraits of food that will elevate your evening with your close relational others, especially your relationship with food itself.