My wife and I are always looking for a new place to eat and luckily one just popped up in our backyard, Hillsboro. The former McGee’s is under new ownership and is serving a menu unlike anything in the area.
The new owner, chef Avery Elliot, is a Hillsboro native and graduate of the Hocking College’s Culinary School. Chef Elliot served as head chef at The Caves in Jamaica, one of the Caribbean’s top twenty-five best rated resorts, from 2005 until returning to Hillsboro this spring.
The menu at EAT is nothing like you’d find in a typical small town diner. You’ll not find mashed potatoes and gravy on it but if you could it would reflect the influences of chef Avery’s Caribbean experiences. Can you “jerk” a potato?
Twice we’ve had lunch at EAT. On the first visit we enjoyed a fresh mixed greens salad with Jamaican jerk chicken and a mild chipotle dressing. The jerk seasoning had just enough punch to ensure you knew there was something present other than salt and pepper. My only suggestion to improve the dish would be to include a little crusty bread on the side.
More recently we experienced the black bean and cheese grilled quesadilla with sour cream and salsa. When it was served I thought it was going to simply be a bean and cheese burrito. That assumption ended with the first bite. I haven’t figured out the spice blend yet but you’ll not find it at Taco Bell.
The quesadilla came with a choice of side dish and we opted for sweet potato salad since it was something neither of us had ever had. It wasn’t the correct choice to accompany a Mexican dish but on its own, it was unique and wonderful. A blend of sweet potato chunks, apples, celery, red onion and a mayo based dressing that was just sweet enough. If I was to try this at home I might add a few pecans or walnuts or maybe a hint of bacon.
After this second visit my wife announced that our plan was to work our way through the menu at EAT and then, start all over.
By the way, EAT is open Monday through Saturday serving breakfast from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Also, the breakfast menu isn’t your typical fried eggs and bacon offerings. From opening to closing EAT is wonderfully different.