EiO & The Hive: Where Vegetables Rule
EiO: everything is organic
The Hive: a gathering place
When Jennifer Masley first told me that that EiO was going to be a juice bar that served alchohol and would be opened for breakfast and at night, I couldn't exactly wrap my head around it. But based on our first experience at EiO & The Hive, Nashville will be swarming like bees to the new restaurant. It's totally refreshing in so many ways. First off the staff is super warm. Sure, at an opening, you can argue that the staff is always on their best behavior, but Jennifer has gathered a staff of young folks who have been around town and gravitated to her democratic way of running the place. They are all super ready to answer questions and stay a bit and chat. The decor is hard to describe, but just works. You might call it 70's hippie, millenial zen, with a 2017 artisan bent. The long community tables are beautiful butcher block that are rich and smooth and a pleasure to sit at. The chairs are woven "something" and super comfy. With all the Nashville industrial chic we see these days (which is gorgeous of course), EiO was a relief.
There are leather couches with comfy chairs that will have us coming back with our laptops to work. The booths along the wall make you want to snuggle in for a cozy drink with your sweetie, and the long community tables just scream for a girlfriend get together. The macrame planters made me almost go to jelly inside, as did the photos on the wall. Sheer 70's and lots of flashbacks (for me). The EiO logo is super whimsical, as is the mural on the wall outside. How can pink dots in a hive shape not bring a smile to your face?
The menu doesn't take itself too seriously either, and there's something for everyone, vegan and carnivore alike. Manning the kitchen is Chef Dale Levinski, previously of Sinema and Fin & Pearl and one who doesn't exactly come to mind when thinking healthy food. But he and Jennifer have proven to be a great combo injecting all sorts of veggies with bold flavors and techniques. Veggie Noodles are topped with a cauliflower "crema," garlic is caramelized into a zesty pistou, and the slaw side is roasted cabbage with a thai peanut dressing. Scallions are charred and chickpeas are curried for the Chopped Salad served with a Tamari Lime Vinaigrette. Greens and grains abound with barley, farro and lots of rice. There's tempeh, but no tofu (probably a smart move, as I haven't come across many men who actually like it).
We chose one of the "Bowls" with bulghur, millet and farro topped with the Forest Mushroom mix (which included fresh ricotta-- and sealed the deal for me) and rotisserie chicken. The bowl was terrific and didn't really even need the chicken. So how does the veggie centric EiO serve a burger? With Bell's Bend Grass-Fed Beef mixed with chopped mushrooms of course. Combined with a beer, any carnivore (my partner) would be quite happy (he was).
We totally forgot to try dessert, but the Chocolate Beet White Chocolate Brownie with Cardamom Goat Cheese Whip has our name all over it. Until next time. Namaste.