We’ve dined at Humble Beagle (next to Humble Bagel in Sundance Market’s plaza) a few times, and we’ve been pleased each time.  Although I still pledge my first love to Belly, Humble Beagle is another fine example of what Eugene can and should do in restaurants.  Humble Beagle is a cozy, weeknight, family place.  They serve burgers, pizzas and rustic dishes like macaroni and cheese, but where they differ from the dozens of other places in town serving these things is that they aren’t afraid to try utterly new variations.  One of the pizzas, for example, is a delicious Lebanese variation with ground lamb, minted labneh cheese, spinach and onions ($11).  Another, the Newport, includes smoked fish, pesto, capers and provolone.

Of the many things to like about Humble Beagle — the cute young couple running the place, the warm paint on the walls, ethical purchasing and seasonal produce — the flavor profile tops my list.  Ari, one of the owners, brings Israeli tastes to the table, and we see an appetizer of smoked fish and oysters, eggplant all over the place, and a hummus just slightly more bitter with tahini than we’re used to eating in these parts.  And it’s fantastic.  Anni, the daughter of the Humble Bagel owners, is connected in the bakery world, so we are treated to fabulous fresh breads — and a wide variety, too.  Even the desserts are house-made. (We sampled a vegan spiced chocolate pudding.  It was a bit grainy, but the spiciness and cocoa flavors were strong and assertive.  Don’t eschew the whipped cream.)

Look at these entrées.  No Steak Diane here:

  • Grilled skirt steak and fries with walnut salsa verde ($16)
  • Braised beans with honey and dill, served with ciabatta ($10)
  • Grilled fish of the day with bay leaves and smoked paprika, served with couscous and sauteed greens ($15)

Yum yum, yes?

Pictured above is a brimming bowl of seafood stew ($15), a tomato-fennel broth with white fish, bay shrimp, scallops and clams, served with garlic bread and a big glob of suspiciously white aioli (with sour cream?) that adds a jolt of flavor to the mild fish.  In the background is the vegetarian souk sandwich ($9), house baked pita bread filled with a gingery eggplant sauce and hummus atop hard boiled eggs and potato slices.  The mixed green salad is dressed simply with a red wine vinaigrette, but get this, it has garlic breadcrumbs — tiny, tiny breadcrumbs — mixed in with the leaves, so the dressing lingers just a bit longer.

Burger and Brew Wednesdays ($9) and Pizza and Pint Sundays ($9) are two nights worth checking out.  So are Everything Else is Excellent Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  The restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Go.  You’ll like it.  The restaurant has a blog instead of a webpage (linked in the first paragraph here), so you can see the full fall menu there and some thoughts on the opening of the restaurant.

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