One of the top restaurants in Winchester. Food is exceptional, service is good. Pricey ? Yes. But worth every penny. I have been three times and can't wait to go back!
On Sunday, June 29, 2014, I had dinner at the eM Restaurant at 19 East Boscawen Street in Winchester, Virginia. Although it had opened early in August, 2013, I was never able to work it into my schedule because it was open only for dinner and Sunday brunch. It is in the middle of the block of Boscawen between the Loudoun Street Mall and Cameron Street.
eM is closed on Monday. It opens at 5:00 PM for dinner Tuesday-Sunday and is also open on Sunday for Brunch from 11:00 AM-2:00 PM. Reservations are encouraged; call 540-431-5139 after 2:00 PM. Their Web page is at www.eatatem.com, and has links to the menu, which changes daily.
A cardboard sign at the curb had the chalked message “FREE BEER, TOPLESS BARTENDERS & FALSE ADVERTISING”. After you recover from reading that, watch your step as you go in; the entry in the center of the building is about an inch above the level of the sidewalk and is a tripping hazard.
My reservation was for 5:00 PM. I was their first patron and was greeted by name as I came in the door. It's a small place and the seating area occupies the front of the room. A large plate glass window is on either side of the entry.
Each window has a high-rise table with three high-rise chairs that allow those patrons to look out onto Boscawen Street and to also be seen. Beyond this area a small bar is located along the right wall, with six or seven high rise seats. The rather small room has minimal decorations.
There was no TV screen, and the background music was not intrusive. A chalk board on the wall to the right of the bar lists some of the menu and beverage items. The floor is lightly stained wood with a glossy finish and the ceiling is white. This treatment and the large front windows give the room a light and airy ambiance.
Other seating is in the center of the room and along the left wall. Center seating begins with two tables for two, next is a table for four, and then two tables for two in the back. A bench along the left wall has two tables for two in the front, then a table for six, and finally a table for two and a table for four at the rear. Each table has chairs on the aisle side.
The kitchen is in the room's back, with the left half open and visible from the dining area. You can watch the staff as they ply their culinary skills. A corridor along the back of the right wall leads to the two Unisex restrooms, both handicapped-accessible. The sinks have an unusual joy-stick faucet control that I have not seen elsewhere.
A young woman named Sherry ushered me to a table for two all the way back in the center. Each table had two menus; the smaller one listed such beverages as Signature Cocktails, Signature Mini-Cocktails, Wines by the Glass, and Beer.
The larger one was a single-sided sheet of the day's offerings, beginning with Today's Featured Adult Beverage, Appetizers, Soups and Salads, and Entrées. Several seafood items were included in the Appetizer and Entrées listings. Each entrée item was accompanied by a note suggesting a wine choice.
My selection from the entrées was Fresh Seared Maine Scallops over a Grilled Pineapple Corn Relish. I did not order wine. Sherry brought me some warmed, buttered Italian bread and whipped butter. The bread saucer was a triangular ceramic dish.
My four medium-sized scallops arrived in a few minutes in a long ceramic dish, on top of the relish. I considered the relish as my salad. It was mostly corn, with only one piece of pineapple. The scallops were very good, cooked just right, but I would have appreciated a larger serving.
I was given a third menu when I asked about dessert. It listed House-Made Desserts and also After Dinner Drinks. I had a weak moment and decided on a slice of Cheesecake du Jour. It came with a large, ripe strawberry riding on a ball of whipped cream. Although the slice was quite large, it was spongy and much too dry; I was sorry I had ordered it.
This establishment is definitely an upscale place, with an upscale menu, and I'm obliged to mention, also upscale prices. It will be on my keeper list primarily for those rare occasions when I wish to splurge. A number of other patrons had showed up by the time I was leaving.
We have visited eM twice and have yet to be disappointed. We have had appetizers that melt in your mouth and are perfectly portioned. We have tried the scallops, mahi mahi, pheasant, and duck and all were delicious. The service is prompt, attentive, and friendly. Leave room for dessert we have had three each better than the last. We will be regulars, this is fine dining done right.