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Annabelle Goodman —
Twice in a week. That says it all. Last week end I enjoyed a Sunday brunch. It was superb. My sister and I were on our way to a meeting. I suggested a dinner. She loves hamburgers. I knew that the dinner menu offered the Aviv Burger. Freshly ground beef by Levoy Rowe butchers is served with caramelized onions, lettuce and tomatoes on a brioche bun. It is served with a choice of side salad or fries. It was an enormous size. I enjoyed watching her enjoy each bite. You can add cheese, bacon or mushrooms if you dare to add to this large creation. It was a winner. I opted for my favorite dish here, the Linguine Camarones. The jumbo tiger shrimp were moist and plump. They had absorbed the exotic tomato herb sauce with spinach, garlic and chilies. The pasta was al dente and it was all served hot.( very important) It was amazing.
The Wellington County Triple a Grilled Flat Iron Steak is served with shitake, oyster and porcini mushroom Madeira wine reduction. Sweet potato and blue cheese mash and sautéed red ruby chard is included. There is always a Fresh Fish of the Day. The Persian Spiced Duck Breast is prepared with mango, turmeric and sumac sauce. It is served with basmati and wild rice, pistachio nuts and dried cranberry pilaf, garlic sautéed kale and roast butternut squash.
This is all gourmet food, lovingly prepared by master chef, Al Garber. The irony is that the food is absolutely amazing. The décor might have you looking in wonder. It gives the appearance of being understated, informal and somewhat run down. I love it. Come as you are but dine in ‘haute cuisine’. The service is delightful. Robert Chee co-owns the restaurant. What a great combination with Robert in the front and Al doing his work of art in the kitchen.
Feel free to enjoy a full course dinner or a starter and a glass of wine. The Quinoa and Kale Salad is healthy and tasty. It is prepared with spiced almonds, dried black mission figs, roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds, snow and sugar peas, roasted pecorino cheese with avocado and sherry vinaigrette. There are numerous sharing dishes. The Grilled Haloumi Cheese is served on torn mixed greens and water cress with clementines, dates and pistachios with Clementine and red wine vinaigrette and extra virgin olive oil. The Vegetarian Mezza Platter offers hummus, babaganoush, butternut squash and tahini, roasted cauliflower, garlic and dill with pickled beets. Quinoa and house made flat bread make for an outstanding appetizer dish to share. The crispy Calamari is served with black olive aioli and romesco sauce.
The neighbors have discovered this hidden treasure. Don’t dress up. Do go hungry and do make a reservation. You will be amazed at the gourmet dishes. Al Garber was so busy in the kitchen I didn’t get a chance to find out about his training. I intend to ask him on my next visit. He is so talented. I love the dichotomy of an understated restaurant serving ‘haute cuisine.’
How delightful that on a Monday the wine is half price. Tuesday and Wednesday you are encouraged to bring your own wine. There is no corkage charge. There are a few tables on street level. There still may be a few days to enjoy outdoor dining before the fall sets in. Once you have been you will understand why I went twice in one week.