Situated inside a space once slated to be the high-end Middle Eastern- and Latin American-influenced restaurant Evalina’s in 2020, the newish restaurant Eva’s has almost arrived in Saint-Henri, evolving out of the fried chicken runaway hit Bucky Rooster’s.
With truncated hours (operating only on weekends until the restaurant can stand on its own two feet), it’s effectively a pop-up within a pop-up, with Bucky’s fried chicken in the background of global shared plates and boozy DJ-fuelled evenings, all set in Evalina’s original swish dining room.
While it’s admittedly a bit messy to split the identities of both brands while the new project grows, owner Shah Kash of the art space The Letter Bet says the idea is based on a storyline where Eva’s is the sister of the Bucky’s experience.
“If Bucky is the young rebel that skateboards and smokes weed and makes fried chicken, the interior reflects someone older, someone who’s worldly and loves art,” says Kash.
Working with Arthur’s Nosh Bar owners and husband-wife duo Alex Cohen and Raegan Steinberg, Kash sought to create a new dining experience in its neighbourhood’s restaurant row. Cohen and Steinberg, however, left to focus on their own projects.
That leaves Kash to move forward with an eclectic menu to match an equally eclectic 50-seat interior — a curvaceous look mirroring “Jabba the Hutt’s bar on Tatooine” according to Kash — that’s designed by Calgary-based designer Andres Aramburu and decorated with works by local artists like Dan Climan alongside international names like Niels Schack, Vincent Tsang and Moya Garrison-Msingwana.
Though the chef takes ideas from all members of the kitchen, Johnny Miranda has taken the lead on it. Miranda has spent 27 years in the industry working on menu development for expansive chains like Pizza No. 900 and the Korean restaurant chain Mon Ami in addition to a slew of international spots.
Kash and Miranda describe the menu as “Americana tapas,” though the dishes clearly have international influences as well. This includes the likes of sashimi or confit chicken tacos, steak prepared as shawarma on smoky hummus, Matane shrimp salad, a Chilean peeled tomato plate, and slow-braised chuck chili con carne. There are also a few dishes from Bucky’s like fried chicken, poutine and five-cheese mac and cheese. Come December, they’ll look to add smash burgers.
“It’s all the comfort moments that folks are looking for on almost every given day,” Kash says. “The detail, craftsmanship and artistry that’s hung on the walls is applied to whatever’s on your fork or in your cup.”
With a reopened dining room comes a reopened bar: Madison Burford, a young gun whose experience includes places like Tadhana and Le Petit Vibe, runs its tidy drink program that includes both classic and signature cocktails alongside wines that include vineyards like ex-Joe Beef founder Dave McMillan’s Hayfield Farm in Saint-Armand.
Eva’s will play host to DJs performing biweekly sets on Fridays and Saturdays, similar to its launch’s Service + Set experiences. Moving forward, they’ll be musically-based pop-ups where their music will match menus from local cooks invited to plan one-night-only menus.
As for the future of Bucky Rooster’s? Kash hopes to see a flagship location for it open in the coming year — this time, with an interior that will match its far more casual and crispy golden menu.
Eva’s is now open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and open for dinner on Friday and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. as well as Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.