Credit: Photograph by Darrow Montgomery

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Unlike some fine-dining restaurants that aim for the conspicuous-consumption set, Eventide has carved out a different niche for itself: It’s Arlington’s eccentric foodie destination. Eventide combines Komi’s OCD-like attention to detail with the chic intensity of the Source’s downstairs lounge. What’s more, chef Miles Vaden strikes me as a toque who will never be satisfied with his work. His menu reads (and tastes) like a man who pushes things about as far as you can in the typically conservative Clarendon dining scene. His bison carpaccio already assumes an air of Michel Richard; like a red-meat version of Richard’s famous “Mosaic,” Vaden plates thin circles of crimson-bright bison meat on a square of white china so that the dish looks like some monochromatic Pop-Art piece. The appetizer’s flavors and textures, however, are altogether original—the crunch of citrus-marinated jicama, the bite of ancho-chocolate mole, the salty umami of Parmesan, the plodding meatiness of the bison. While not as jaw-dropping as the carpaccio, other dishes on Vaden’s menu display enough invention and technique to justify any wild-eyed optimism you may have about this restaurant. Hell, even the upstairs dining room at Eventide, a former meeting hall for the Odd Fellows fraternal organization, strikes an odd, engaging tone. The ceiling is high, and the walls have an exposed, terra-cotta austerity about them. The long elegant drapes and the intimidating emptiness all around you—above your head and between the widely spaced tables—complete the image: You feel like you’re dining in some cool medieval castle.

3165 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, (703) 276-3165

Next up: Evo Bistro (Moroccan, Spanish, Italian, Mediterranean)