ETC. IN GREEN HILLS
Chef Deb Paquette has built a loyal legion of fans from her years cooking at local favorites, such as Cakewalk Cafe, Zola, and her current home, Etch. Though the city was all atwitter at the announcement that she had plans to open a second restaurant in Sylvan Park, that project, named Truss, unfortunately never came to fruition thanks to a series of zoning and codes disputes. It turns out that Sylvan Park’s loss is Green Hills’ gain, as Paquette and her restaurant partners decided to focus their attention on a new opportunity in a mixed-use development tucked behind The Mall at Green Hills, where Crestmoor and Bedford Avenue come together. What to order: What to Order Indian Chicken Taco (lunch), $10.50 Portuguese Ravioli Ensopado, $37 12-ounce Grilled Strip Steak, $34 Big Night Pie, $22 Upside Down Plum Cake, $9 The new restaurant is called Etc., and it is an intimate dining space featuring Paquette’s globally inspired dishes that combine a wide range of flavors and dramatic plating. With less than 70 seats, plus a bar with room for a dozen drinkers and diners, Etc. is as suburban cozy as Etch is downtown dramatic. The interior was designed by Powell Architecture + Building Studio, with custom design elements by Red Rock Tileworks, Holler Design, and Hygge & West. The result is both organic and modern, with plenty of natural wood and stone tiles, accented by fun and funky fixtures, copper, and glass. Chef Paquette realizes that, with two restaurants, she won’t be able to be in both kitchens at once—so, she’s had to put a strong staff together at each location. “This is a gift to myself,” she explains. “Now, I’ll be able to oversee both restaurants and spend a little more time with my husband.” At Etc., chef de cuisine Jessica Lambert will lead the crew. “Jess has worked in the kitchen at Etch for two years, and she has a great palate. We worked together to develop this new menu,” Paquette says, adding with a laugh: “She’s not as mean as I am, but she’ll get there.” Though a collaboration, the menu at Etc. is vintage Paquette. Since her days in the kitchen at Zola, her dishes have been almost as fun to read about as they have been to eat. Her creativity and sense of humor shine onto the menu at Etc. LUNCH MENU For example, on the lunch menu, Paquette has a beet salad with goat cheese, berries, bacon, toasted pecans, and a tart cherry-ginger vinaigrette—but there’s also exotic roasted cantaloupe-lime leaf sauce to set it off. The list of “sammies” represents a world tour of cuisines, with a New Orleans-inspired shrimp sandwich, a Moroccan flatbread, a Korean sloppy Joe, and a good, old fashioned patty melt. Entrees include an Indian chicken taco, a seared bistro steak and capellini, and a fried catfish dish. All the mains come as fully composed plates with appropriate sides. DINNER MENU At dinner, the creative gloves come off as chefs Paquette and Lambert layer flavors over textures. A spinoff of the popular butter tasting at Etch appears as an appetizer, called “Bread and Butter,” featuring a slab of grilled sourdough bread and a duo of specialty butters that change at the whim of the chefs. Other popular starters include duck gizzards prepared two ways (confit and fried), as well as a Vietnamese beef short rib dish served with spun lemongrass noodles, bean sprouts, cucumber, thai basil, and candied peanuts. It manages to be exotic and comforting at the same time. For fans of Paquette’s famous paella at Zola, she pays homage to the Iberian origins of that popular rice dish with Portuguese Ravioli Ensopado. The word “ensopado” means “smothered”—and this delightful dish gets precisely that. Pulled pork linguiça ravioli, plus a fish of the day, scallops, shrimp, mussels, and a celery, fennel, and asparagus slaw are nestled in a light broth. There’s a traditional strip steak on the menu, and even this beefy favorite gets the full Paquette treatment: The plate is dressed with a tomato salad, parmesan vinaigrette, crispy fried potato skins, delicate pea pesto, and grilled zucchini. For vegetarians, there is the “Big Night Pie,” a creative four-cheese filo cheese pie that includes a black olive quinoa caviar. DRINKS + DESSERTS Etc. offers a limited list of desserts highlighted by a dark chocolate panna cotta and an uncommon upside down plum cake. Rotating selections of ice creams and sorbets change daily, too. To drink, a tight cocktail and beer list showcases both local and international choices, while a surprisingly affordable roster of wines leans toward Old World influences. For a special dinner or a power lunch, Etc. is certainly a welcome addition to the Green Hills dining scene. And it won’t matter whether Paquette happens to be in the kitchen when you visit—her touches are apparent in every aspect of the dining experience.