HOME > Chowhound > Philadelphia >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese?
TELL US

Avance

a
alex1018 Nov 25, 2013 12:31 PM

Does anyone know anything about price point or menu options yet?

I'd guess tasting only, and around $150, but I'm curious if anyone has heard anything.

  1. PhillyBestBYOB Dec 10, 2013 03:16 AM

    Opening Friday, a la carte and tastings.

    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/th...

    Check out the photos (Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Le Bec Fin any more)!

    I'm not going to the opening. I've been to waaaayyyy too many openings and closing in that space, and I am feeling kinda burned out with 1523 Walnut Street. But I guess I'll eventually get there...

    1. PhillyBestBYOB Dec 17, 2013 06:30 PM

      Anyone been yet? I broke down and made a res for NYE (I appear to have no will power to resist 1523 Walnut St).

      1 Reply
      1. re: PhillyBestBYOB
        a
        alex1018 Dec 18, 2013 06:20 AM

        haven't been. planning to go next week, hopefully.

      2. b
        barryg Dec 17, 2013 07:11 PM

        Anyone have any idea what the bar menu looks like, price and selection wise?

        1. j
          JanR Dec 18, 2013 06:42 AM

          It's a la carte, isn't it?

          3 Replies
          1. re: JanR
            a
            alex1018 Dec 18, 2013 07:19 AM

            they have a la carte, 5 course, and carte blanche

            edit: ... or something like that

            1. re: alex1018
              c
              cwdonald Dec 18, 2013 07:29 AM

              You can see the opening night menu on Foobooz. They had a chef's tasting for 138, a five course tasting for 87, and a la carte.

              No where have I seen the menu for the bar. You can make reservations for the bar on open table distinct from the restaurant so they clearly are intending for it to be a distinct destination. Interestingly though there is availability for Avance but no availability for the bar for the next 8 weeks. The open table price guidance for the bar was 30 dollars and under.

              1. re: cwdonald
                b
                barryg Dec 18, 2013 06:27 PM

                I wonder if the bar isnt open yet -- I dont think I've seen any pictures. Or maybe they are waiting to see what kind of bar scene develops on its own before taking reservations.

          2. d
            dndicicco Dec 18, 2013 12:25 PM

            Anyone see or have an image of their menu? I like a lot of the ideas behind the restaurant! Yelp reviews look promising so far, but so few considering the newness of the spot.

            2 Replies
            1. re: dndicicco
              c
              cwdonald Dec 18, 2013 02:03 PM

              http://www.phillymag.com/foobooz/2013...

              1. re: cwdonald
                d
                dndicicco Dec 18, 2013 04:35 PM

                Thanks...aghhhh

            2. a
              arepo Dec 18, 2013 02:46 PM

              I am hoping their regular menu will include more choices.
              I had a hard time trying to put a dinner together with what was offered.

              1. PhillyBestBYOB Dec 18, 2013 07:44 PM

                Interestingly, George was reportedly there on opening night. I heard the steak dish was exceptional.

                1. d
                  dndicicco Dec 19, 2013 06:43 AM

                  I have reservations this Friday, so will report back. My DP is French and was a fan of LBF (although not a HUGE fan), so I'll be interested on her take re: the bread. Supposedly it's been getting accolades on Yelp.

                  1. d
                    dndicicco Dec 21, 2013 04:45 AM

                    Went last night with my DP and loved it. There were a few bumps along the way, but the overall excellence of the food, service, and inventiveness won me over.

                    Here's a rundown of the experience.

                    We had early reservations for 5:30 Friday evening. They called me around 4 pm to confirm, which I thought was odd but they asked about dietary restrictions which seemed up to date.

                    Upon arriving, you can't but help notice the darkness. It's a heavy decor, lots of black curtains, thick, dark wood, etc. They were having temperature issues in the dining room, so we had to wait about 10 minutes to get seated with the other early couple.

                    The wine service was good, although I found the selection on the pricier side. I'm not a huge wine guy, so usually go by the glass. I did a Napa Chardonnay. The server was VERY knowledgeable, and knew her stuff despite looking like she was 22. ;)

                    We opted for a la carte, since I'm a control freak and my DP doesn't like to "eat too much!" It turned out great, since there are a lot of amuse bouches and nice touches (pardon the butchering of the French).

                    1) Complimentary Brut -- set a positive tone (5/5). Our waiter arrived with this, and he's a BLM vet and was a great guy throughout. Really perfect except he needs to unbutton the bottom button of his jacket

                    2) Amuse bouche - Crackers with Uni Mayonnaise (5/5) -- positively delicious. I was ravenous to start, but this was a light wafer-like cracker (tortilla chip?) with an Uni/Mayonnaise type of paste on an artful bed of smoothed stones and kelp. Right away you know you're dealing with something different. I loved the mix of textures, which was a perfect pairing of some crunch and smoothness that left one satisfied in a great way

                    3) Amuse bouche - Poached egg with spinach oil, bacon, and caviar (5/5) -- Oh wow. This was out of this world. This may have been more of an egg custard, but the caviar and bacon add a savoriness that took it up a level. It was presented in a carton of 6 eggs, two of which were opened up poached egg style the other four were cold and not to be eaten. Kind of fun

                    4) Amuse bouche - Tuna tartar with horseradish (2/5) -- Garish display, IMO. It was a small portion of tuna tartar that was not particularly fresh, with a hint of spiciness to it (very little), and it rested on a dried vertebrae of the tuna. I was left with a poor taste in my mouth as well as in my mind.

                    Luckily, the bread service came to the rescue!

                    5) Sweet bread with sea salt and homemade butter (5/5) -- This was my favorite bread. It had an outer layer akin to Philadelphia soft pretzels, but the inside was sweet and moist and not too hot. The butter was very good and topped with more sea salt, but this was a darker variety. Loved it

                    6) First course -- Arctic char w/ shaved apple and fennel (4/5) -- Very pleasant and clean opening course for me. I love raw fish (am a real sushi snob), and this was good although after doing places such as Yasuda etc in NYC my bar is VERY high. The apple was lovely, and there were other great flavors here (maybe horseradish) that made the dish pop. Presentation is fantastic and artful although the plates are extremely dark and heavy

                    7) Buckwheat bread (4/5) -- This was hearty and well timed. I like the idea of buckwheat more than the flavor, although this one worked well. The crust was crispy and robust

                    8) Brassicas (5/5) -- This was the "greens" plate and honestly on the same level as Vedge. I asked them to go "lite" on the oil and they complied. You could really enjoy the assemblage of vegetables, which included a roasted leek, shaved Brussels Sprouts, et al

                    9) Rye bread with amaranth (3/5) -- I was breaded out at this point, but it was an interesting combination of flavors. The bread guy (for lack of a better term!) really talked this one up. My DP loved it. I probably don't have a sophisticated enough wheat palette

                    10) Halibut with black truffle (4/5) -- Halibut was cooked perfectly, so soft and buttery inside with a crispiness to the skin that I loved. I did not have black truffle w/ it but am too much of a softie to point it out to the servers. I preferred the lighter version, anyway. The additional garnishments were perfect, such as cabbage and a sweet potato reduction

                    11) Cheese plate (3/5) -- This was a bit of a disaster. A different server brought us the cheese plate, struggled mightily in naming the different cheeses (my DP is French so I watcher her wry smile), and left without opening the glass serving lid nor did he bring us bread. He came back with regular baguette (not thinly sliced), and yet another server came with the proper thinly sliced baguette. The cheese itself was a good assortment, although it was bereft of a distinct blue and while the honey was a good accompaniment I would've preferred another sweet add such as green apple slices or a jam

                    We were too full for dessert, but the menu looks enticing. I'd opt for the Yuzu creme brulee or assorted fruits dish with sorbets next time

                    Anyway, all in all, an outstanding fine dining experience. The bill was not too expensive considering the haute cuisine, and the servers were extremely pleasant, knowledgeable, and even a little fun.

                    The black decor makes me think of the death of LBF, but perhaps one can look at it as an advanced awakening.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: dndicicco
                      a
                      arepo Dec 21, 2013 08:00 AM

                      Grateful am I for your prompt review.
                      Sounds sophisticated and (for me) a bit scary, yet intriguing. I am really a keep-it-simple-sweetheart eater and that sounds a bit over the top for me. And all that bread....wow!
                      I guess I'll have to read a full menu to see if they comply with my finicky food tastes.

                    2. e
                      ejwaterman Jan 8, 2014 06:23 AM

                      Went to Avance with another couple the week before NYE. I can see it is striving for a 5 star experience but ours fell far short.

                      From mis-prepared items (two guests had ordered the same dish, one excellent, the other over cooked), which led to a battle of the egos with the chef; to the servers repeatedly being unsure who ordered what; it was not a 5 star experience. My main issue was the 4 oz pour on glasses of wine, that's at the low end of industry standard, but our glasses were mostly in the $20-25 range, so at that price and for a new restaurant, please give me a proper glass.

                      On the upside, the menu was interesting, if not slightly pretentious (Brassicas = the mustard green genus; menu items should not require a biology degree). The waitress was superb and after the bumps are worked out, Avance could be a fitting successor to the storied space of LBF.

                      1. PhillyBestBYOB Feb 5, 2014 04:49 PM

                        First review of Avance, from Brian Freedman of Philly Weekly:

                        "A single mussel, pickled and meaty, arrived on a white pedestal dainty enough for a little girl’s doll. Impeccably composed and with wit to spare, there was nothing dainty about the flavor, a palate-awakening wave of the sea’s essence lifted with the licorice hints of fennel and Pernod. All of it, ingeniously, was borne on a shell the deep purple of royal robes and crafted from pasta dough colored with squid ink, shaped in the actual casing it was intended to mimic and replete with all the necessary ridges and crenellations."

                        http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/foo...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: PhillyBestBYOB
                          d
                          dndicicco Feb 6, 2014 06:00 AM

                          Great review! Thanks for posting this.

                        2. g
                          gwh912 Feb 9, 2014 06:36 PM

                          food was great - one of the best additions to Philadelphia in a long time and much better IMHO than the prior tenant. Go with tasting menu with wine pairings, go with a cocktail or two to start, and be glad to see Philadelphia get a true fine dining institution with loads of potential to compete (and I think, based on my most recent meal) exceed the likes of Lacroix (though it is definitely less formal with a mixed dress in the dining room)

                          I ate alone, and enjoyed just under three hours of many hits and few misses...

                          1. PhillyBestBYOB Mar 2, 2014 03:40 PM

                            An excellent video about Avance:

                            http://whyy.org/cms/fridayarts/

                            1. PhillyBestBYOB Mar 29, 2014 02:52 PM

                              Seems to be a difference in opinion among reviewers.

                              Trey Popp apparently hates Avance:

                              "Karl Marx once wrote that history repeats itself: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. And Avance is what happens the third time around." Ouch!

                              http://www.phillymag.com/foobooz/2014...

                              Overwhelmingly positivity on Yelp (62% are 5 stars).

                              Does anyone know when LaBan is supposed to publish his review?

                              Popp's review almost prompted me to go tomorrow, but it's closed on Sundays...

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: PhillyBestBYOB
                                j
                                JanR Mar 30, 2014 09:04 AM

                                I have not dined at Avance, and cannot comment on the food. The server interruptions I would find insufferable. I must say the review was quite pithily written.

                                1. re: JanR
                                  a
                                  arepo Mar 31, 2014 02:59 PM

                                  Wow! That Popp review was a real turn off to me.
                                  I pass.
                                  :-(

                                  1. re: arepo
                                    PhillyBestBYOB Mar 31, 2014 06:10 PM

                                    I think Popp's loosing it (see his review of Farm & Fisherman Market). Several other reviewers have said it is great stuff.

                                    I'm definitely going to try it out myself and make up my own mind.

                                    1. re: arepo
                                      b
                                      barryg Apr 1, 2014 09:13 AM

                                      Popp/Philly Mag/Foobooz is a joke, simultaneously creating an echo chamber of trends and reprinting press releases with glee, but also always trying to play the contrarian. Best to not take any of it too seriously.

                                      1. re: barryg
                                        b
                                        Buckethead Apr 1, 2014 11:19 AM

                                        I still agree with Popp more often than not, I hope Jason Sheehan isn't starting to rub off on him.

                                        On the other hand, remember that this meal costs at minimum $120 per person. At that price, in this city, and with the place aspiring to fine-dining excellence, you just can't do these things on the service side:

                                        - Tell someone their table isn't ready at their reservation time, direct them to the bar, then tell them their table is ready just after they pay for their drinks.

                                        - Make someone wait 30 minutes for wine with no remedy offered (a free splash of something else like Popp says, or something).

                                        - Take someone's napkin away, then not replace it.

                                        I also agree that there's a line between making the customer aware of the quality of the ingredients used and lecturing them about it incessantly, which it seems like they did. I only ate at the bar downstairs so the service was more casual and not preachy.

                                  2. re: PhillyBestBYOB
                                    p
                                    Philly Ray Apr 1, 2014 12:24 PM

                                    LaBan's review is coming this Sunday.

                                    1. re: Philly Ray
                                      d
                                      dndicicco Apr 1, 2014 04:01 PM

                                      Looking forward to it. It's hard to put my finger on it, but LaBan seems leagues ahead of Popp in depth of content and writing style.

                                      1. re: dndicicco
                                        b
                                        barryg Apr 1, 2014 04:13 PM

                                        Laban writes like a professional. Popp exudes only pretension and snark, a very unattractive mix.

                                      2. re: Philly Ray
                                        PhillyBestBYOB Apr 1, 2014 04:18 PM

                                        I bet it will be 3 Bells. Of course, not having been there, I have very little basis for that.

                                    Show Hidden Posts