Many who read Chowhound know of Robert Lauriston the constant poster, but now he’s going to be a restaurateur as well. His restaurant, ~LOCANDA DA EVA~, will be opening in the former Maritime East location—although the name was inspired by the restaurant’s history as Casa de Eva, a very popular Mexican restaurant that had a 37-year run there. The partner-chef is Huw (FYI, Huw is the Welsh spelling of Hugh and is pronounced the same) Thornton, who was most recently executive sous chef at SPQR under Nate Appleman, and prior to that, spent two-and-a-half years working the meat and pasta stations at A16. His sous is Daniel Sharp, currently working the pizza oven at the Café at Chez Panisse.
Thornton’s daily-changing and seasonal menu will be mostly Italian, featuring the best of local and sustainable purveyors, and will include pizzas from the wood-fired oven. A peek at the intended summer opening menu had this to offer: “small plates such as pork trotter crepinettes with padron pepper and corn salsa; dried fava bean purée with spicy Watson lamb soffritto, pine nuts, cilantro, and harissa; and tuna conserva on bruschetta with summer squash, cherry tomatoes, chiles, and basil. Pasta offerings range from rigatoni with ragù bianco and Grana Padano; to linguine with rock shrimp, chile-garlic soffritto, fiorelli, and shaved bottarga; and quattro formaggi ravioli with pesto. Pizzas may include margherita with Gioia burrata, basil, tomatoes, and cicoria: radicchio, wilted frisée, chiles, and pecorino. Main courses will come with a choice of vegetable and include oven-roasted California yellowtail with arugula, endive, griddled potatoes, pesto, and pine nuts; Becker Lane pork loin scallopine with cauliflower and okra giardiniera; and zampina of Watson lamb sausage with braised endive, mint, and spiced Straus yogurt. In addition to house-made gelati and sorbetti and a selection of house-made cookies, desserts will feature traditional Italian favorites such as affogato as well as fruit-based desserts such as griddled peaches with fresh Gioia ricotta, mint, and Marshall’s Farm honey.”
Some will recognize partner-general manager Matt Derrick from Terzo, Pesce, Cortez, and Miss Pearl’s Jam House. Locanda da Eva will offer 20 to 25 wines by the glass (with none over $10), plus a reserve list that will eventually grow to around 100 bottles from wine director Robert Lauriston. It will be predominately European but also will include California wines. Jacqueline Patterson (Orson, Zinnia, Smuggler’s Cove, Heaven’s Dog) is in charge of the cocktail program as consulting bartender. She will be incorporating “classic Italian flavors into simple, delicious cocktails which incorporate regional produce and products from local distillers. There will be a strong focus on traditional styles of Italian beverages such as aperitivi and digestivi and attention to strong, clean flavors.” Dinner will be served Tue-Sun, including a bar menu after 10pm. Locanda da Eva is slated to open in early summer, 2010. 2826 Telegraph Ave. at , Berkeley, 510-665-9601.