Wednesday

18

December 2013

3

COMMENTS

Avec

Written by , Posted in Chicago, Restaurants

I was already distraught about the fact that it had taken me so long to get myself in here and after dining at Avec for the first time I was really kicking myself for not visiting sooner! From here on out I will definitely be making up for all that missed time without this amazing food in my life!

It was a Tuesday night and as the snow fell outside, this tiny space on Chicago‘s Near West Side was bursting at the seams with energy. Conversation and laughter filled the restaurant as wine flowed and food was savored, all to the soundtrack of Biggie Smalls playing in the background…what’s not to love?!

Avec

Being the tiny space that it is, along with their no reservation policy, Avec is usually a fairly crowded spot any night of the week. When we arrived there were a few seats open at the bar, so my two dining partners and I snagged those up and settled in. For a group of 1-3 the bar works fine, I usually prefer the bar if it’s just me or me and one other person because I love chatting with the bartenders and getting their opinion on what to order.

Avec

Avec has a variety of small and large plates that are all perfect for sharing-my favorite way to go! Their menu is filled with Mediterranean classics, pulling from regions of France, Portugal, Italy, and the coast of Spain. The twist? A Midwestern interpretation that makes these dishes interesting and comforting at the same time. We perused the menu over a lovely plate of house-marinated olives…the perfect first bites to give us a taste of what was in store.

Avec

house-marinated olives

house-marinated olives

Our first dish was the Brandade. No idea what brandade is? Neither did I. Per Wikipedia, Brandade is an emulsion of salt cod and olive oil eaten in winter with bread or potatoes. It was delicious….and now I know that I love brandade! We also ordered their much-loved Chorizo-Stuffed Medjool Dates and as soon as that first bite hit my tastebuds, I knew that this dish was the winner of the night. The spicy kick from the chorizo and pepper sauce combined with the slight sweetness of the dates and the saltiness of the bacon is a PERFECT combination!

whipped brandade with garlic bread and chives

whipped brandade with garlic bread and chives

chorizo-stuffed medjool dates with bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce

chorizo-stuffed medjool dates with bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce

As hard as it was to follow the dates, we thoroughly enjoyed our next few dishes as well-charcuterie and cheese boards and the refreshing brussels sprout panzanella to round out the meal. The brussels sprout salad was really fantastic-if you think you don’t like brussels sprouts…I challenge you to try this salad and see if you feel a little different about these mini cabbages afterwards!

charcuterie board

charcuterie board

cheese board

cheese board

brussels sprout panzanella with calabrian chiles, gold raisins, and fiore sardo cheese

brussels sprout panzanella with calabrian chiles, gold raisins, and fiore sardo cheese

Luckily one of my dining partners was the Epicurean, and he has been to Avec a time or two. Even though we were happily full at this point, he let us know that Avec’s version of the Nutter Butter was not to be missed. After quickly polishing off the four pieces in our first order,  Kit and I exchanged glances and knew that a second order was going to be needed! You definitely do not want to miss these…and I guarantee that you can’t eat just one!

nutter butters

nutter butters

Bottom line: if you haven’t been to Avec, get there! If you’ve been but haven’t tried some of the above items, heck, even if you have….get back!

 

Mentioned in this post
  1. Chicago
    City in Illinois

    Chicago Illinois
  2. Avec
    Restaurant in Chicago Illinois

    615 W Randolph St
    Chicago Illinois
    (312) 377-2002

  • Kit

    LOVE IT! We definitely need to go back soon!

  • Yum!! I need to get my behind over there.
    -Katharine
    Living’s as Easy as 312

  • I love Avec! The space is beautiful but their medjool dates are just insane. Can’t beat a beautiful restaurant with fantastic plate after fantastic plate.

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