Avila - promising newcomer
I somehow missed the few earlier posts on Avila so I was surprised to be walking around the theater district today and happened upon it, located directly across from the City Place Bennigans, on the first floor of One Charles place. After ordering a drink at the large, bright bar area I perused their brunch, dinner and bar menues and was quite impressed by the Mediterranian influenced selections. The bar menu had a small selection of first courses, pizzas and panninis, and although not particularly hungry I could not resist the cheese steak spring rolls (obviously one of the non-Mediterranian selections...)
I was slightly put off by the overly fussy, vertical-food presentation, which consisted of four large spring roll halves, overturned on a small square plate with a smattering of "homemade spicy ketchup," with small and delicately fried onion rings perched on top. All hesitation disappeared on the first bite. This is the type of unique dish that lends itself to repeat business motivated solely by the "I must have cheesesteak springrolls NOW" state of mind.
Bar service was friendly, though I was unhappy with the fact that although there was only one other person at the 50+ seat bar, the server wound up slicing watermelons for 15 minutes right in front of mep; why does this seem happen so consistently?? Either do such basic bar prep before you open, or at least give personal space to the patrons. Aside from that pettiness this is definitely a restaurant I will return to and see how they handle such dishes as whole crispy sea bass.
On a differnt note I was surprised that Houstons in Faneuil Hall was closed on a Sunday afternoon - is something going on with them? I have wondered how the street performers gathering large crowds right in front has affected business.
And living close to Caffe Italia in Orient Heights I am curious as to why they seem to have been closed for almost a month now - anyone know what the deal is there?
Finally, having posted numerous times in the past on Zafferano, let me put in yet another plug, as it seems that after two years they are in a struggling phase that may ultimately result in their demise if business doesn't improve, which would be a devastating loss. If you have not been yet, go and support them and spread the word to others.