The long, narrow room is so well designed that it may lead diners to believe that Avec is all style and no substance, but the first bite will convince you otherwise. Tables are communal and the menu of small plates is designed for sharing: pork shoulder roasted to melt-off-the-bone perfection, Taleggio cheese focaccia doused with truffle oil, chorizo-stuffed dates. Conceived as a wine bar, Avec features a steel-topped counter that runs the length of the perennially packed, streamlined wooden tunnel of a space, where the bottles all hail from vineyards in France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. The loud atmosphere is fun yet edgy, drawing a crowd of stylishly turned out locals and after-hours chefs and sommeliers from around the city.
Tip: Reservations are not accepted, so come early, come late, or be prepared to wait.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.