Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Avec



As I mentioned in the last post, I had dinner on Sunday night in Chicago at Avec, which was an extraordinary dining experience. My favorite foodie friend, Seif, recommended the restaurant last year, and I finally decided to see what all of the fuss was about. The restaurant is located in West Loop Chicago on Randolph Street. It’s simple storefront is unnoteworthy, but the inside of the restaurant is truly unique. The clean design of the cedar-lined dining room is striking, and apparently designed to provide a clean palate in which to present Avec’s unique dining experience.

The dining room is essentially one long rectangular room, with a silver topped bar on one side, and long tables for communal dining on the other side. A wall of green wine bottle bottoms present color and visual flair on the far end of the dining room.

The seasonal menu features wine cuisine inspired from the regions of Spain, Portugal, Italy, and France surrounding the Mediterranean. Avec offers “tapas style” dining with small plates, large plates, artisan cheeses, and wines. The prices are very reasonable. Small plates are $4 to $12, and large plates range from $10 to $18.

Although the dining room may look trendy and pretentious, it certainly didn’t feel that way. The wait staff was extremely friendly, and the service was superb. The communal dining set-up lead to easy conversation with neighbors. As soon as we sat down, the couple next to us was offering a taste of their focaccia bread.

We ended up choosing the following combination of small and large plates. My favorites were definitely the flatbread and focaccia, but the dates (pictured, above) and hanger steak were fantastic, too. But maybe a tad more spicy than I can usually handle.

-Chorizo-stuffed madjool dates with smoked bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce
-Wood-fired flatbread with roasted mushrooms, fromage blanc lardons and fresh thyme
-"Deluxe" focaccia with taleggio cheese, truffle oil and fresh herbs
-Pan-roasted hanger steak with rapini, roasted corn, smoked paprika lima beans and herbed butter

Anyone who is living in or visiting Chicago must visit this restaurant. The food is fantastic, and the entire dining experience is unique. Avec does not take reservations, however, so be sure to get there early or be prepared to wait. We were able to get a seat at the bar immediately on Sunday evening, but the place definitely filled up quick.

2 comments:

kelly said...

You should look into posting your reviews on yelp.com. It's a great resource.

seif said...

I'm so glad you got the dates!!!