It was only back in the middle of October that we were reporting the closure of the Italian restaurant Cafe Revo in West Seattle. Now here it is, just the beginning of December, and word has come down that an opening for Avalon, in the space once occupied by Revo, is imminent.
Brought to life by chef Deb Breuler (ex of L'Avenue in San Francisco, Rick Bayless's Zinfandel in Chicago and--weirdly--Maggiano's Little Italy), Avalon is setting out to be "a casual fine-dining restaurant and lounge [where] the menu's focus is on local Pacific Northwest fare with a touch of Mediterranean flavor."
And that sounds all well and good, but let's get to what's important here: how does the menu look?That's an interesting question. Right now, the place only has sample dishes listed--things like artichoke fritters with tomato and a curly endive salad with honeycrisp apples and candied walnuts on the small plates side, and big ones like 40-clove garlic chicken, short ribs, potato-crusted scallops and cedar plank salmon on the other. It promises that the menu will "mix core favorites with seasonally rotating items and daily specials that capitalize on ingredients provided predominantly by small local vendors," and I'm really hoping that it does because that board? It reads a bit warhorse-y to me. I mean, 40-clove chicken was hardly new when it was a feature at Chez Panisse 30 years ago, and cedar plank salmon has even (thankfully) passed off the menus of most hotel restaurants these days.
Still, Avalon is, by definition, a casual, simple place (or "unfussy and approachable," according to Breuler), and perhaps the slant of the menu is deliberate--a purposeful turn toward tried-and-true dishes that speak of comfort to neighbors. But I'm still hoping that those "seasonally rotating items and daily specials" do something to jump up the tone.
Avalon is slated to open the doors sometime this month. So I guess we'll all have to wait until then to find out.