Epulo Bistro in Edmonds has found an audience for pizzas, small plates and entrees
Offering a price point for most every budget, Epulo Bistro in Edmonds has found a following for its wood-fire oven pizzas along with its selection of small plates, entrees and a full bar.
Special to The Seattle Times
|Romaine with crispy prosciutto||$7|
|Fig and blue pizza||$11|
|Clams and chorizo||$11|
|Grilled rack of lamb||$24|
526 Main St., Edmonds
Hours: Dinner 4-11 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday, 2-10 p.m. Sunday; lunch 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; brunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; happy-hour menu 3-6 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close daily in the bar. Closed Monday.
Prices: $$/$$$ (lunch $6-$12; dinner small plates and pizza $4-$14; entrees $12-$24)
Drinks: Full bar; moderately priced wine list with varietals from North and South America, Italy, France and Spain.
Parking: On street or limited off-street parking east of building.
Sound: Moderate to noisy depending on capacity.
Who should go: Locals looking for a quiet lunch; Farmer's Market foragers hungry for brunch; after dark revelers will appreciate the romantic vibe.
Credit cards: All major.
Access: No obstacles
Not long ago people lamented the limited dining options in Edmonds. And cocktails? That's what Belltown was for.
But lately there's been a bistro boomlet. First Olives, which began as a modest sandwiches-and-small-plates wine bar, more than doubled in size, expanded its menu and added spirits. Now Chef Michael Young says he's opening a second venture in June, The Winged Pig, where he'll offer bar snacks, charcuterie, cheeses, fondues "and many liquids."
Five Bistro, which opened in January on Edmonds Way, began offering cocktails just this month. Meanwhile on Main Street, a pre- or post-movie drink-and-a-bite at The Loft — upstairs, downstairs or in the sheltered garden — has become de rigueur for many.
Across from The Loft, Epulo Bistro replaced Shell Creek Grill last November. Lucking into the last two vacant seats in the lounge one Friday night, I beheld a scene more typical of East Pike Street on Capitol Hill than Main Street, Edmonds.
Customers were two deep at the bar, gray locks next to dreadlocks, button-down collars next to plaid shirts. Soccer moms sipped syrah while frosted blondes with buff biceps lifted candy-colored vodka cocktails.
The Mediterranean menu suits the vaguely Iberian vibe, articulated in tomato-red walls, a rust-colored concrete floor, countless candles and wood trim stained as dark as bitter chocolate.
Owners Tim Morris and Tim Carr got a wood-fired oven along with the keys. Executive chef and general manager R. Shubert Ho puts it to good use, baking commendable thin-crusted pizzas and roasting vegetables like the tender cauliflower punctuating fettuccine primavera made with impressive house-made noodles.
Among the pizza possibilities I favor the "fig and blue" for its balance of sweet fruit and caramelized onion and its rich, sharp blend of fontina and blue cheese. A brunch pizza was equally satisfying; two over-easy eggs placed smack in the center of the pie oozed rich yolk over a field of fontina and arugula.
The brunch menu goes beyond run-of-the-mill; prices are low, portions munificent. A fried egg nestled in a ring of soft polenta — a Mediterranean twist on Toad in the Hole — has bacon bits and shaved grana on top, plus sautéed Swiss chard and buttered toast on the side for just $7.
Lunch incorporates some of the dinner menu's salads and small plates, and adds sandwiches. Consider the commendable Reuben on marbled rye, or crab, avocado and orange slices tossed with mixed greens lightly dressed with citrus and chive.
Caramelized shallot in the Caesar dressing gives it sweetness and depth; prosciutto cracklings supply a pleasing saline crunch. Prosciutto also flavored the Tuscan white-bean soup whose tomato broth was decidedly Progresso-ish. For $11, you may pair smaller portions of the soup, most salads and sandwiches.
At dinner small plates were often more skillfully executed than entrees. Clams and crumbled chorizo are happily wed in a garlicky wine broth infused with the sausage's peppery heat. Delicious duck sliders pack shredded duck confit, arugula and melted fontina into square potato rolls. They are meant for dipping into pomegranate sauce, but square bun, round bowl, watery sauce — it just doesn't work.
Those sliders come with compulsively eatable polenta fries that deserve a better condiment than pallid tomato-basil aioli. Juicy marinated lamb kebabs, however, had plenty of sass in the sauce: mint-cucumber yogurt drizzled with spicy paprika oil.
I couldn't muster much enthusiasm for pot-roasty short ribs in a slightly bitter red-wine demi; pale-skinned "chicken under a brick," or mushy, Panko-breaded Dover sole sauced piccata-style with lemon and capers that mightily flattered the real star of that dish: sautéed fava greens.
Already popular, Epulo has many charms but still some kinks to work out. Desserts are humdrum. The affordable and varied wine list is careless about details like vintage dates and appellations.
Service gets frantic when the place is slammed. (While still finishing our starter we got a "30-second warning" that our entrees were almost ready.) Given all the competition in town, I'd like to see it sharpen its game.
Providence Cicero: email@example.com
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