Eight ½ is located in a hundred-year old house in a relatively shabby neighbourhood. Interestingly the place looks rather quaint and elegant from the outside, but the interior is just your average neighbourhood pub.
The first thing we noticed after being seated was that there were a lot of flies zooming around; some were even lounging on an empty table beside ours. Cleanliness is a pretty big deal for me, so I was feeling slightly turned off at this point and didn't have much hope for the food. We got a pitcher of sangria to start, and it was quite a bit stronger than I had expected. But it also came with a LOT of ice, so it was a race against time to try and finish it before it was diluted by the melting ice.
When the baked brie ($8.50) came, my doubts about the food immediately went out the window. This was so satisfying! The brie was wrapped in phyllo pastry and baked until the inside had barely melted. When I pried it open lightly with my fork, warm gooey cheese came oozing out. It was delicious with the small slices of toasted baguette. And who would have thought that sweet and sour (and slightly spicy) Thai sauce would go so well with brie? I was even more surprised when I realized that the small mound of green stuff on the side was not pickle but dried pear!
The thin crust pesto shrimp pizza ($11.50) was also quite good, but of course paled in comparison to the baked brie. It was both cheesy and greasy as expected, rather tasty but not my cup of tea.
The B.L.T. ($6.50) is one of the cheapest items on the menu. Getting a sandwich with a side of soup (+$1.50) is a pretty good choice because a cup of soup costs $5.50 by itself. The soup of the day was Thai soup. The herbs and spices used were unmistakably Thai, but the soup had a definite Western twist. It was a creamy version of the real thing. The bacon in the sandwich was smoked, crispy and very savoury. I don't like bacon, but I didn't mind this. I also liked the honey nut bread instead of boring white bread.
I have to say I was surprised at the quality of food, especially after the initial less-than-satisfactory impression with the flies. Would I go back again? It's a bit far for me, but that baked brie sure is tempting...