This past weekend Kevin and I met some of our friends for brunch at Avec. Avec has been on my radar for quite some time so when our friends suggested going here for brunch they didn’t have to twist our arms too much.
Avec has one several James Beard Foundation Awards which comes as no surprise seeing as the Executive Chef/Owner is Paul Kahan. You may remember me talking about some of Chef Kahan’s other restaurants like The Publican and Nico Osteria.
Avec has been around for over ten years and its menu features Midwestern interpretations of Mediterranean classics. The menu offers both small and large plates that are designed for sharing. The restaurant itself is rather small and guests are seated at communal tables. They do not accept reservations so we were lucky we were able to snag a seat without a wait, however; the food is so good it is definitely worth any wait you may have.
Kevin ordered their take on a Bloody Mary which is made with harissa (a hot chili pepper paste) and pickles. He enjoyed their version very much and said it had just the right amount of spice.
At the recommendation of our waiter, we ordered two small plates and two large plates to share between the four of us which was the perfect amount of food. The waiter was very accommodating to our table’s dietary restrictions and even brought out a separate menu for Kevin indicating which items were gluten free.
To start we ordered Avec’s most popular dish: Chorizo-Stuffed Medjool Dates with Bacon and Piquillo Pepper-Tomato Sauce. I first discovered my love for bacon wrapped dates when I moved to Chicago six years ago, but THESE dates are like none I have ever tasted. They were out of this world good! The spicy chorizo paired with the sweet date and salty bacon is a flavor combination made in heaven. We seriously contemplated putting in another order they were so good.
Our next dish was the Baked Egg with Roasted Peppers, Chickpeas, Guanciale, Farmer’s Cheese, and Breadcrumbs. I loved eating this dish with they crusty bread served with it. The sauce on the egg was so rich and flavorful – I loved every bite.
This next dish was my second favorite of the meal (behind the dates of course). For one of our large plates we ordered the Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with Curried Lentils, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apricots, and Apples. The ingredients in this dish just scream fall to me. The pork was fork tender and the flavor of the curry paired so well with the lentils and vegetables. The curry wasn’t overpowering and added just the right amount of spice to this dish.
Our last dish we ordered was the “Deluxe” Focaccia with Taleggio Cheese, Ricotta, Truffle Oil, and Fresh Herbs. A seemingly simple dish, the flavors will surprise you and is not one to be missed. The light ricotta mixed with the intense flavor of truffle sandwiched between the crispy bread was a mouthful of awesome. I could not stop eating this focaccia it was so light and delicious.
I absolutely loved our experience at Avec! I cannot say enough positive things about this restaurant. The flavor profiles of everything we ate were spot on. I highly recommend brunching here. In fact, if anyone is looking for a brunch buddy give me a call and I’ll happily join you! I’m looking forward to trying out their dinner menu as soon as possible.
Avec is located at 615 W. Randolph in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood