Friday, March 31, 2006

Avalon Restaurant & Bar

I'm at work. It's a georgeous day. Spring Fever is walloping my brain. As I drive home I conveniently neglect to stop by the grocery store (sorry, Fresh Market) and announce to my husband "I don't feel like cooking. Where do you want to eat?" After lots of discussion (we always have a difficult time deciding), we realize that we have a gift certificate to Avalon. Whew! Decision accomplished.

We drive to the Main St. establishment in the Fan looking forward to a nice experience. It's been a while since we have dined here, but it's always been great. So much for always. As I perused the menu (new for Spring) the word raspberry popped out at me. I hate raspberries, and the menu had a bumper crop of them. Alas, I resigned to fact that my choices for dinner would be limited. We ordered wine - Conde de Valdemar Crianza Rioja 2002 ($23). Well-balanced between fruit and body. A yummy choice. Unfortunately, the rolls came next, two cheese rolls and two olive rolls. Unfortunately, the waiter did not alert us to the fact that the olive rolls were olive rolls. We mistakenly thought they had mushrooms instead. Despite our initial error, the olive rolls were better than the cheese. The cheese remained sharp leaving the rest of the bread bland. The two of us decided on the same meal - a mixed green salad with strawberries, almonds, and rosemary balsamic vinegar dressing followed by Avalon Broil. I enjoyed the strawberries on the salad. They added a sweetness to the vinegar. The dressing itself became too puckery once the berries were consumed. A sign of cheap balsamic. I could not finish the salad. The Avalon Broil turned out to be a London Broil. We asked for medium rare and received medium rare to rare with the meat being served lukewarm. The marinaded meat had a hint of dill and a slight vinegar twang. The taste was to our liking. The dish was accompanied by grilled potatoes and portobello mushrooms and dotted with creamy goat cheese. I spread the goat cheese on the potatoes and moaned with delight. We were also served spring veggies - slightly steamed baby carrots and straight from the can green peas (and we are not talking baby peas). All in all an inconsistent experience. And to cap off the evening, even though we were seated in the non-smoking section, we smelled like cigarettes when we emerged from the restaurant. A lingering reminder that we may want to give Avalon a wide berth before dining there again.

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