March 20 2006 - 9:13 AM

Right next to Blackbird, the big brother (or sugar daddy) of Avec, is a simple rectangular restaurant that seems to want to stress form over function. The 1-room has a row of tables running the length of one half of the restaurant and a bar/counter and kitchen along the other. It looks like giochi gonfiabili something out of Dwell magazine. The irony is that the food is fairly complicated with a traditional grounding. While the food fattens your ass, the stool will flatten it.

And the food is good. The menu is an assortment of small plates, that
aren’t too small, and large plates that we didn’t try. When you get
knee-deep into the menu you might also have the desire for variety.
Dishes like the crispy duck confit with blood oranges in a blood orange
vinaigrette and crispy short ribs with red peppers, cilantro, red onion
and harissa aioli were ones that, as I left, I wish I tried.


I did have plenty of good stuff though. From a very stinky cheese I
think from Sauternes…Cave de Vignerons. Maybe stinky was the wrong
word but rather very much like dirt. Not muddy… a drier dirt. (get
the idea?).  Chorizo-stuffed dates with bacon in a pepper-tomato sauce
were awesome. I skipped the brandade but will make sure to get it next
time. The seared cod with cauliflower was phenomonal. The saltiness of
the capers and the speck
(fatty parts of hog’s legs?) worked great with the fish. The special
was rabbit-stuffed grape leaves which were also wonderful. They had a
very hearty flavor but I didn’t get very much sense of the rabbit.

There’s always talk about trouble getting a table at Avec. Considering
we walked in at 7:45 without a reservation on a Friday night and were
seated at the bar immediately I would say that as long as you don’t
mind the bar you should be jumpers for sale good anytime. A table for 4 might take a bit
longer. They will take your mobile and call you when it’s ready so you
can sit and drink at any of the surrounding bars. What’s more important
than cocktail hour? Keep in mind that the wine list is very good by the
bottle or glass (glass and a half servings). They also offer a good selection of cheeses.

615 W. Randolph
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