When in Chicago, one must take a moment to explore the culinary delights this city has to offer, even if only for a small bite.
I visited avec for the first time last night and was pleased by the hospitality and energy throughout the restaurant. I was greeted promptly and seated at the bar, and the hostess checked my overnight bag, as I had come straight from the office. What a happening place for a Tuesday!
As I was dining for one, I enjoyed a glass of 2012 Katogi Averoff from Macedonia, along with a half order of the wood oven paella. The full order would have been far too much, as was evidenced by the groups of two sharing it around me. The wine was served quickly, which I enjoyed while taking in my surroundings.
The paella came out piping hot about 20 minutes after I placed my order; good things come to those who are patient. The crispy rice was topped with chicken thigh confit, two large shrimp covered with tangerine aioli and cilantro, and a halved snail boudin flanking the dish on either side. The proteins were cooked to perfection, and the flavors all melded together quite nicely. You bet that I devoured that entire plate!
The servers were quite attentive, refilling my water a few times without my prompting, and closing my check immediately upon request. I was in and out within an hour, despite how busy the floor was. I’m already looking forward to trying to rest of the tapas on the menu the next time I’m in town – excited to taste how well the French-Mediterranean cooking style works in other dishes! I’ll be brave enough to try to fit more than one tapas dish in my belly next time.