Monday, May 17, 2010

Dinner: Avalon Restaurant

 Within the chain resturant infested areas of PA, I am always looking for my next  "must go" spot that has an actual chef. led me to Avalon, a BYOB in West Chester. Looking at the menu online, it was reminiscent of Otto (one of my favorites in New York) so I had to check it out...and whenever the boyfriend is paying you take advantage ;)

The Outside
Live Acoustic
Complimentary Summer Ale
This was accompanied with a complimentary cheese. They do this every Friday and varies each time.
Taste:  This had a very distinct flavor, it reminded me the Victory Helios Ale. It had lemony and peppery after tones.
Price: Free

Complimentary Ricotta with Lemon Peach

Taste:This was a lemon ricotta with diced peaches and basil. This was a very refreshing little appetizer. I really enjoyed the freshness of the basil contrasting with the milkiness of the ricotta. The peach was a nice touch without being overly sweet
Texture: Smooth and velvety, the peaches had a sort of gelatinous texture to them
Price: Free

Grilled Vegetable Platter
Taste:This was with eggplant, zucchini, and onions drizzled with a sweet balsamic reduction on a bed of mesclun leaves. It came with a side of bread smeared with ricotta. Wow, these were soo yummy! Each individual veggie's natural flavors were the stars as the balsamic reduction was the backup dancer. The onion was cooked to perfection ( I hate when onions are improperly cooked and have that unnecessary bitterness to them). Truely the most tasty veggies I've ever had at a restaurant. 
Texture: These were perfectly grilled, the veggies were soft and tender. The mesculn greens gave it the crispness it needed. 
Price: $8.00

Taste:The half moon pasta was filled with caramelized onion, gruyere and served with escargot in a garlic butter. Yum! The pasta was so fresh and the onions were sweet. The presence of the cheese was there without being too much and I loved the bits of herbs in the butter
Texture:Textures in this dish were the stars. The pasta was thin and chewy and super fresh. The onion filling melted in my mouth. The escargot were plump, tender and juicy. The butter was super velvety 
Price: $11.00

Potato Gnocchi
Taste:This with spinach in a tarragon brown butter sauce. I really loved the spinach in this dish. Its natural flavors came through and was a nice contrast to the starchy gnocchi. The gnocchi itself didn't have much flavor and couldn't taste the tarragon. I wished there were cheese or ground nuts in the filling to give it more depth
Texture: The gnocchi was very soft and I barely had to chew it. The spinach were just wilted enough without being overly cooked

Taste:This was with mussels, shrimp, white fish, chorizo and cannellini beans in a tomato broth.  The chorizo gave it a nice smokey flavor and the broth was pretty tasty with chunks of tomatoes, I enjoyed dipping my bread in it.
Texture: The white fish was almost bordering on overcooked, but still was tender. The shrimp were plump (and huge!). I loved the creamy texture the beans gave in this dish
Price: $25.00

Complimentary 5 Cheese and Fruit Pairing
Since I had some gripes last time I was here about the service, the chef offered us this cheese platter. Totally suprised but willing to eat it : D
Left: It was a firm cheese, the winner of this was that it was drizzled with truffle oil (YUM) 
Center: This was also a firm cheese, it had a nutter after taste but not my favorite of the bunch
Right: This one was flaky and the flavor was bold. I liked nibbling on this by itself. One of my favorites out of the bunch

Left: This cheese had the consistency of feta. It was creamy and its subtle flavor was perfect in pairing with an array of fruits
Center: Strawberries and blackberries, yummy :)

Right: This was Buddy's favorite cheese, it was the creamiest of them all. Tart and great with the sweeter fruits.
Verdict: Overall I really loved coming here, the chef/owner seems to truly care about the opinions of his patrons and their happiness ( a character of a true chef). The quality of the food is excellent, and vegetables in all the dishes were my favorite. Though my first experience with service was not up to par, this time it was wonderful and knowledgeable. I loved the ambiance of this place, it was roomy and there is outdoor and upstairs seating. Being a BYOB is a big plus and Buddy and I both agree it is one of our favorite places to eat near his school.

 Avalon Restaurant
312 South High Street
West Chester, PA 19382-3342

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