By Christina Rinaldi
If you are looking for a restaurant with a hip and sophisticated vibe that will offer you a fresh take on traditional American fare, then eM is the place for you. This beautiful restaurant throws a modern curve on old-world charm. With vintage architecture and modern furnishings, the style draws in crowds from all generations. Tasteful artwork and a soft glow from the candlelight provide a dreamy, cozy atmosphere sure to make you feel at home.
When you find yourself in Old Town Winchester, take a walk a little off the beaten path to 19 Boscawen Street. While eM is not a part of the walking mall, it is only a skip away. Have a nice brunch on Sunday before you hit the shops or a late night dinner after all of your purchases are complete. No matter when you stop in, you will always find something new to try.
The menu at eM changes daily to comply with what is available fresh and sometimes even locally. You can be sure when you sit down to a meal that your plate will consist of seasonally available cuisine.
Speaking of plates, have you seen the food presentation at eM? It is a spectacular work of art like oil on canvas or a skillfully woven tapestry. Before you eat, you might want to snap a photo or just pause to marvel at the skill, time, and attention it took to prepare your meal. Head chef and co-owner, William Mason, is highly skilled and professionally trained, and it definitely shows. It is extremely evident that all the cooks enjoy and respect their craft. Your eyes will want to savor their own feast before you dig in.
eM is open from 5 P.M. to closing Tuesdays through Saturdays and is closed on Mondays, but you will find that they are open on Sunday for brunch from 11 A.M until1:30 P.M. and for dinner from 5 P.M. to 8 P.M. You can call in anytime after 2 P.M. to make reservations, and don’t be shy about walking in. Since this fabulous restaurant can fill up quickly, the owners decided to open the upstairs seating area for overflow and to offer special dining events. The upstairs area has been open for just around a year and has been a hit so far.
Speaking of special dining events, have you heard about the Harry Potter event they threw at the end of October? Held in conjunction with Winchester Book Gallery, this spirited event featured food and drinks inspired by the movie. Guests were encouraged to wear costumes, and eM even gave away door prizes and gift bags. Most fun of all was the photo booth. Be sure to check out their future events and other specials on their website eatateM.com.
With the holidays quickly approaching, you could plan to dine at eM for the Annual New Year’s Eve Party. At the intersection of Cameron and Boscawen Streets, a private non-profit organization holds the First Night Winchester celebration, where the town performs the official apple drop with midnight fireworks immediately afterwards. You can walk outside of the restaurant to watch the event or go just a short walk to be closer to the crowd.
If you take a look at the menu today, it will likely be different tomorrow. The owners take pride in providing as many seasonally available items as possible. This means that the listings are as dynamic as the changing winds. The menu often features local farm to table items and fresh seafood.
Owner and Front of House Manager Liz’s favorite appetizer is the PEI Mussels. This fresh catch is served in a scrumptious white wine, with garlic and roasted tomatoes. “I have literally seen people drink the broth from the bowl,” she says. You can also try their International Cheese Plate with Bacon Onion Jam, which pairs perfectly with a glass of port wine. Liz says this is also a great dish to eat if you’re just coming in for dessert. Soups and salads are always changing but tend to feature something for everyone’s taste. When they say everything is made from scratch, they mean it. All the way down to the dressings and croutons.
The main course section of the menu always features eight entrees total that incorporate two fish items and Seared Scallops at all times. Currently, you will find a Grilled Jail Island Salmon with a Sweet Chipotle Sauce, Shaved Beets, and Roasted Tomato Basmati. For those looking for more of a fish and chips type of feel, try the Beer-Battered Wahoo and House-cut Fries served with Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Dill Tartar Sauce.
eM’s beef comes from Roseda Farms out of the Chesapeake Bay area. The cattle is completely antibiotic free and grass-fed. If you get a chance to try their filet, you will never regret it. It is often served with horseradish potatoes or a parsnip puree. You can also have a surf and turf inspired meal with a Grilled Shrimp and Hanger Steak. If you’re more into poultry, you will be pleased to know you can order the Roasted Duck Breast served with crispy eggplant, quinoa risotto, and a tomato olive tapenade.
Desserts are all made in house. eM has a dedicated pastry chef, so you can rest assured that your sweets are freshly prepared. Just like the rest of the menu, the desserts are inspired by the seasons and are often made with local ingredients. Currently in the offerings is a Pumpkin Carrot Cake topped with a luscious house-made cream cheese icing, mouth-watering candied orange peel, and ginger caramel. This must be the most divine cake in the entire universe.
If you are looking for somewhere to unwind, eM serves wine by the bottle and by the glass. All food items have a suggested pairing listed in the menu. All of the wine offerings are high end taste and include choices from Virginia to California as well as international wineries. eM continues to build their list for the cellar with different years available to choose from.
If you’re not a wino, you’ll be pleased to know that there is also seasonal craft beer by the bottle or can. Signature cocktails with fun names are served daily. eM uses fresh juices, high quality soda mixers and homemade infused simple syrups. The variety of eclectic mixtures is continuously switching up just like the main menu to ensure you are always going to have something new to try.
If you are looking for somewhere new to try, hop on over to eM restaurant. It’s exciting to wonder about what might be on the menu for today. You might even get to try the mussels. Don’t worry; they won’t get mad if you drink the broth. Eat at eM!