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Following my mea culpa yesterday about this year’s Best New Restaurant pick, the indefatigable Don Rockwell hopped into his car and headed to Eventide to form his own opinion about the upstart Clarendon operation. He walked away disappointed, but perhaps not for the reasons you might think.

Rockwell explains on his eponymous board:

I was disappointed, but also glad, that Eventide isn’t serving the upstairs menu in the downstairs lounge. “If you want to fly first class, you have to buy a ticket,” Cathal Armstrong once told me when I asked if anything from Eve’s Tasting Room menu was served in the bar. I respected that then, and I respect it here, now….

Call it a lounge menu, call it pub grub, but don’t assume that these dishes fairly represent the Culinary Eventide that awaits at the top of the stairs. This is not a criticism; it’s an observation – this place is what it is: a big, bustling, busy bar that will undoubtedly siphon off hundreds-upon-hundreds of patrons from Liberty Tavern during the weekends.

Y&H needs to buy Rockwell a beer for doing his job for him. I completely agree: Don’t go to the Eventide lounge and expect the dining room experience. They are two separate beasts. The former space is loud, crowded, boozy, and brimming with the kind of food that tends to satisfy this subgenre of diner. The latter is spacious, quiet, slightly creepy, slightly cool, and stuffed with the kind of food that requires serious contemplation.