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Apr 16, 2008 03:24 PM

Avec- Watch your back

Went to Avec this weekend with wife, daughter and her friend. While waiting for a table, two of us ordered a drink. 11 bucks each, and I paid with a 100, tipped 3. Got my change clipped to a receipt and went to sit down. Wife suggested I count money and sho' nuff was about 20 short. Called it to attention of hostess, got it corrected with no muss, fuss. Ordered food, beer for the guys and nothing for the women. Toward the end of the meal, I noticed a 250 ml. carafe of red wine sitting on the table. I asked the folks to my right if it was their wine, nope, not theirs. Called a lady, hostess type, not waiter, and pointed out we did not order the wine. She patted my daughter on the shoulder and said, "I know". Presumably, a comp for the change mishap. Got the bill, the wine was listed. Called it to attention of waiter who inquired. We were told that the comp was to be the bacon wrapped dates, which are heavely, BTW and not the wine that we did not order but drank because we thought it was for free. The comped dates were two dollars higher than the wine. No big deal, but twice in one night there we sort of got jerked around. Beware when going to Avec and be careful if they decide to comp you something.

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  1. Thanks for the warning. Though from Chicago, I had never heard of Avec before Top Chef had two guest judges from that restaurant. Sounds like very odd behavior.

    What did you order there?

    8 Replies
    1. re: Chew on That

      Never heard of Avec? Hrmph. Only one judge, Koren, was from Avec, Paul Kahan is from Blackbird.

      1. re: aelph

        I believe Paul actually owns Blackbird and Avec.

      2. re: Chew on That

        Avec is very well-known in the Chicago food community, for numerous reasons whigh distinguish it from other restaurants. It's the sister restaurant (i.e. co-owned) to the well-known Blackbird next door. It's small. The menu features "small plates" (divided into smaller dishes and larger dishes) of Mediterranean-influenced cuisine. Prices are quite reasonable. It's often frequented by chefs, both local and those visiting from out of town. The kitchen is open late at night. They don't accept reservations, and waits of 90-120 minutes at peak weekend hours are common. They feature communal seating, either at the bar or at 8-tops (so unless you're a party of 8, you'll be sitting with strangers at your table). The seats are hard and uncomfortable - backless/armless wooden stools at the bar, and at the tables either backless/armless wooden "boxes" or the benches along the wall.

        I ate there a couple of months ago and thought the food was reasonably good, but nothing really "wowed" me.

        1. re: nsxtasy

          Sitting with strangers on hard and uncomfortable seats.

          I can't wait to go to Avec.

          1. re: redchile

            I might be willing to excuse the downsides if the food were really great. However, I just haven't found that to be the case. The food is okay, but hardly "special", and not at all deserving of the praise I've seen posted by others. If you've never been there before, try it some time and decide for yourself.

            I haven't experienced any problems like the OP described, though, and I don't think they are typical.

            1. re: redchile

              The food is delightful, great wine choices, and I personally enjoy the experience of meeting and talking to new people. Not a "special romantic" just the two of you night, but people often surprise me when I get to know them. Also fun to go with a group of your own friends.

              And the wooden seats don't occur for me as all that uncomfortable.

              I have never had the kind of problems that singlemalt experience, but I'm sure that if I did it would leave a bad taste in my mouth also, although I find it odd that you didn't inquire about the wine when it was brought to your table.

            2. re: nsxtasy

              I wouldn't suggest going to Avec with a party of 8. The wait would be extremely long, as you would have to wait for all of the parties at a table to finish dinner, and the restaurant would have to quit seating other parties at the table.

              I've never had a problem with the communal seating. You can interact or ignore the others at your table. The volume is level is pretty loud, so it's not like you are in someone else's conversation (unless you want to be).

            3. re: Chew on That

              Avec's Chef was also named one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs for 2008.

            4. I never get sick of Avec. I'm like a kid in a candy store in there, with all the outstanding European boutique wines that pair so well with their always solid and delicious small paltes and unique cheeses, I've never given a second of thought to the seating. As long as I have amazing wine, and some of the best food Chicago has to offer, I am a super happy camper! Going out to a place like Avec is such a wonderful treat for me, I really appreciate and savor the experience every time.

              2 Replies
              1. re: naperwino

                I wholeheartedly agree with NW on Avec.

                I have been there numerous times, and have always had a wonderful meal and outstanding wine. It is truly a special place. The food it really good and the service is great. It's very eclectic and a unique experience. I've never felt the seating is uncomfortable.

                Sorry to hear about the mishaps with the OP. I've never witnessed anything like that.

                1. re: blondie60614

                  It's never good when restaurants make mistakes but let's be clear: Avec is one of the most creative and important restaurants in Chicago. Some people might not enjoy the tables, etc. and I understand that Avec isn't for everyone. But anyone who enjoys serious food "gets" Avec.

              2. Long time reader, and first time posting, and sorry if my first time is a bit of a downer, but, we seem to have lost the OP's message. He did not comment on the food or wine, or the quality there of, or the chef. He just suggested that we watch our change, and if receiving a comp, check it out.