AVEC doesn’t take reservations so arrive early if you don’t want to wait. Our party of five arrived at 5:30 on a Saturday night and were seated immediately. Within minutes people were waiting. The room is sleek and modern, long and narrow with bench seating along one wall. It’s a small plate kind of communal seating restaurant.
On the downside, we had extraordinary long waits between dishes which was partially attributed to our ordering patterns. Still. The kitchen did seem to be having a hard time keeping up. We left three hours later at 8:30. If it weren’t for this, AVEC would have scored higher.
We ordered: “Deluxe” focaccia with taleggio cheese, ricotta, truffle oil, and fresh herbs: taleggio is a soft, mild but rich cheese and when ricotta is fresh all you need is it, a little honey and good bread. This was delicious and not heavy cheesy as you might think. Truffle oil added complexity but wasn’t overpowering. Not sure why it’s called “deluxe.” Squid ink pasta alla chitarra with steamed mussels: the pasta was cooked perfectly as were the mussels which are very easy to overcook, just another 30 seconds and you’ve ruined them. If you’ve never had squid ink pasta, you should have it here; Wood-oven roasted pork shoulder: delicious in that hearty, deep flavor kind of way; Chorizo stuffed medjool dates: versions of stuffed and wrapped dates are turning up on menus everywhere. These were a stand-out; Seared shrimp with corona beans, radish top pesto, roasted radish and limoncello viniagrette: why throw out the radish tops when you can make a pesto out of them? Limoncello is a sweet, strong, lemony after dinner drink popular in southern Italy. Delicious; Nutter Butters: can’t go wrong; Affogato: not something that’s easy to ruin. Espresso over ice cream: bitter, sweet, hot, cold. Yum.
Cuisine and style of dining: Mediterranean, small and large plates, and semi-communal seating on spartan benches.
Visited on June 29, 2013.
615 West Randolph, Chicago, IL