Friday night found us out at Avalon with friends. This is a place I've been wanting to try for as long as I've lived in Richmond, but for some reason, never found the occasion.
To those that are unfamiliar, Avalon is a long standing fan restaurant along Main Street. If you didn't know any better, you might almost think it were a spa or some kind of antique store due to the unique remnant plate glass store windows that flank the entry way.
And even upon entering, it feels like a bit of a maze to find where you're going. :) I loved the interior. It has the old school tin ceiling, a bit low slung compared to a lot of vintage places in the fan. And what I think saves it from being too dark and feeling like a cave is a lovely sky light on the bar side of the restaurant. Overall, just very cozy, comfy and welcoming.
I should also explain that they have a very unique menu. You can order courses (salad, main course, dessert). You can order tapas. Or you can do a combination of both, which is what our party opted to do. Our server worked strategically to build all of our choices into "courses" so that no one in our group would be without a plate at any time.
We ordered a smattering from the menu (the online menu is not updated yet with their spring/summer offerings):
Watermelon cubes w/a balsamic and basil reduction
Hummus w/veggies and crostini
Israeli couscous w/garlic and parm
Roast chicken w/mash & their "world famous" brussels sprouts
Duck confit pizza
Watercress salad w/blood oranges & goat cheese (mine, of course! :) )
Cheese plate - danish bleu, aged/smoked provolone, herbed goat
The watermelon was spot on and made my mouth very happy. All the flavors surprisingly complimentary and refreshing. The hummus was creamy and rich, I will def. be back for this in particular. The chicken a bit dry, but flavorful. Watercress salad was nicely balanced and one of my favorite items. Cheese plate-- the goat was actually kind of sweet and that was not what I was looking for, so I was not a fan. The provolone, however, was piquant, bold and my favorite on the plate. (Hubs was digging the danish bleu)
My fav item by far and away was the duck confit pizza w/goat cheese and fresh tomatos. Killer. Seriously amazing blend of balanced flavors. The crust was crispy with just enough chew to it. I could order this over and over again and never get sick of it!
For dessert, they offer the usual suspects (creme brulee, cheesecake etc.) which, according to those in our party who ordered them, were good. However, I and my friend opted for their house made chocolate ice cream w/ancho chili. The only way I can describe it to you is that it was a roller coaster in my mouth! LOL! Really creamy & chocolatey, you swallow and about 2 minutes later it would punch you in the back of the mouth/throat. Very fun!
The experience overall was relaxed & fun. The service, while kind & helpful, was markedly slow. I'm not one to notice this type of thing too much if I'm w/good company and a great cocktail. So, it was more my counterparts noticing than myself. It certainly will not deter me from going back!
I would say this is a great joint to visit if you want a light, but excellent bite at the bar with a really good imported beer. :) Def. worth a visit!