An opportunity to eat at my friend’s workplace came out of nowhere. A chance to re-connect with friends also accompanied this dining experience. In my mind, I thought what could be better than that?! And with gusto, my dining companions and I paid Avec a visit.
From the outside, Avec is unassuming. I don’t recall seeing a sign either. Oops?
The plates were medium sized and held an ‘avec’ designed napkin.
The interior of the restaurant was very easy on the eyes. The wooden tables and chairs seemed to glow in the sunlight.
Many of Avec’s dishes come out of these wood burning ovens that are manned by the Avec staff. One of them being my foodie pal, B! And would you know it, she was working that day! OH YEAH!
We were fortunate to be given this lovely bean antipasto, courtesy of B. Thanks, B! The antipasto was great. It had great texture, earthy flavors from the beans, onions, spinach and I’m guessing the red veggie was red onion? The bread was great too. They warm them in their blazing hot ovens and comes to you piping hot.
One of Avec’s popular dishes is the chorizo stuffed medjool dates with smoked bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce. In the past, B had spoken fondly of these dates and I recommended that our dining group order it.
This was really good. The date exterior was sweet, the interior was meaty and wildly flavorful, and the sauce was amazing. I have no idea what a piquillo pepper is, but it certainly makes wonderful friends with these dates. We’re talking BESTIES here.
The fermin serrano with rhubarb, campari cherries and tarragon was really interesting. At first taste, the dish confused me. After a few more bites, I came around to better understanding the somewhat fatty, salty ham and its relationship with the rhubarb, campari cherries and tarragon.
Our dish of marinated hangar steak with summer squash, asparagus, blueberry and bone marrow smelled really good. There was a lot of comments on how the steak was tender, not over cooked and well prepared. There were some bone marrow enthusiasts who enjoyed the bone marrow on the side. I don’t hold strong bone marrow feelings as I’m still getting accustomed to it, but thought it was a bold stand and chance on something that is not normally served in restaurants. The squash and asparagus was good, but was confused by the blueberries. Flavor wise, I had a hard time getting them to mesh up. On the other hand, I considered them a quick dessert mid-meal. 🙂
The wood fired flatbread with beets, mozzarella, black olives and arugula was wonderful. At first, the thought of having beets in the dish threw me off as I had never had beets prepared this way, but that all changed after eating a few slices. The beets were thinly sliced and had a sweet twang and worked well with the rest of the toppings on the thin, but slightly crispy flatbread. I can see myself eating this all day as it’s a very tasty dish.
Lastly, we ended our meal with white chocolate panna cotta with maple figs and walnut shortbread. The panna cotta was thick and had a luscious mouth feel to it, while the subtle flavor of white chocolate came through. The maple figs complemented the panna cotta well and the walnut shortbread was quite nutty.
Overall, a solid meal in a relaxed restaurant that definitely felt more open and inviting than its sister restaurant, Blackbird. Thanks for a great meal, B!
615 W Randolph
Chicago, IL 60661