Now that I have more time, I'll post some more info on some of my favorites, as well as others.
For flavor, it seems to me that most Asian EPs (the long, skinny ones) are sort of bland, but this isn't a bad thing, as most in most of the dishes I put them in they absorb the flavors, and the eggplant flavor is more or less covered up anyway. The few white eggplant varieties I have grown were the mildest flavored, and since they really didn't produce that well, I never grew them again. Those Ichibans are one variety that has kept the eggplant flavor, though not as strong as the large varieties, like Black Beauty. And most of the Asian EPs don't get much of a bitter flavor when over-grown- it seems that the ones with the stronger flavor are the ones that become bitter.
While I do make a note of the flavor, this is not the main thing I look at when deciding whether to grow a variety again. Most, like tomatoes, drop their blossoms when it gets into the mid-90s and above, and some even sooner. And some are very late, as with peppers. And some simply do not produce! I had one last season that I only got 3 fruits from the entire season!
I have grown 3 types of long green EP, and my favorite, because of production and heat resistance, is an Indian variety - Hari
. While the others (Thai long green and Louisiana Green) were very late (both after 80 days), I get my first Hari shortly after 60 days, and non-stop production after that! Not at all bitter, even the seedy ones I left on too long. Definitely something I grow every season. Here's a 16" long Hari:
Besides the Ichiban, the other of my three favorites is a hybrid - Neon
. This is another fairly heat resistant variety, and incredibly productive! Early, though not quite as early as Ichiban, it is fairly mild, and does not get bitter, even when I miss an EP for a few days, and it gets seedy. Here's a photo of 3 neons, next to 2 Haris:
Negra Lisa was a new large variety I grew last season. It was productive, though late, and had a decent eggplant flavor, and no bitterness in the one that I let get a little seedy. If I want a larger EP, I might try this again.
I have grown several Thai round EP - Petch, Kermit, and light and dark green. Can't seem to figure these out - the plants simply don't get very large, and produce briefly, then stop, like it's the heat. Yet, how could it be hotter here than in Thailand? lol I have had some other SE Asian varieties that seemed stopped by heat, and this didn't make sense. The flavor of the small rounds is different, but nothing special, and considering how few I get per plant, not worth the bother.
I am not at all fond of the Turkish eggplant - Solanum aethiopicum . I grew two types of this species, and both were very bitter when under-ripe (when you pick most EP!), and got sweet when ripe, but no great flavor, IMO. They were productive, I will say, and ornamental, with all of those orange fruits on them.
And then, there is the pea eggplant, a.k.a. bitter eggplant - Solanum torvum . This is an eggplant that is bitter, but the flavor is delicious in Thai curries - just 1/2 c is added, to give the dish one more flavor, to add to all of the other flavors. The plants are actually trees, and the flowering is late, which is why I start them on 2-1. Here is a photo of the 1/2" eggplants:
This year's plant, ready to go out (if it weren't so cold!):