After a delicious dinner the first night at Ave in the gorgeous Kimpton Seafire, I basically felt like family. Everyone at this restaurant was beyond wonderful and honestly every night I dined there (all but once) really solidified a memorable vacation experience. I don’t know if I was the first single lady to ever grace the resort or if they knew something was wrong or what, but the entire staff was just beyond lovely. No one pried, they just plied me we lovely cocktails, vintage wine, and delicious bites. Or maybe they were just impressed with my ability to eat share-worthy quantities of buratta…more on that later.
So, after my first excellent experience, I let the manager and hostess talk me into a tasting menu at the Chef’s Counter of Avecita. Let’s face it, it didn’t take much to twist my arm into a tasting menu. What else did I have to do anyway other than photograph and nibble on nine courses with nine…or so…wine pairings. So….heerrrreeeee we goooo….
First up, the place setting. These utensil holders were so cool and very handy when noshing on multiple courses in succession. Oh, and when you’re about to taste nine wines you want to start with a tall gin and tonic…said no one ever…so I did.
Here’s a look at the tasting menu. Obviously, I opted for the whole thing plus vino. When in Rome. My “tour guide,” Dale, said he liked my style and of course I didn’t have to eat everything in full….right….
Not on the menu…was sparkling wine and snacks. These were one of my favorites because they were all so creative! From left: oyster meringue, shishito pepper, sausage cookie with port reduction, and a duck neck wonton. Really, this alone was worth the price of admission, just send a few more rounds over.
Course One: A sort of corn soup/veloute with crunchy corn and truffle on top. Definitely ate all of this; loved it. Paired with a Viognier.
Prepping for course two…
Course Two: the “I’ll totally make this at home course.” King crab served in a spider crab over potato puree and a chorizo reduction. OMG. I might remember this for the rest of my life. Those “rocks” are actually boiled potatoes covered in an edible “clay.” What was the clay? I never asked. I loved the idea of them, but the taste I could leave. I ate most of this, not because it wasn’t amazing, but because it was just SO much richness. Still, coolest dish EVER. Paired with a Chenin Blanc from Vouvray.
Course Three: Lamb tartare with berries. That’s right, raw lamb because apparently you CAN do that. Again, absolutely delicious. I ate all of this as well. Paired with a Spanish blend.
Chefs hard at work, including the chap bend over the counter on the right who was gorgeous and a doppelgänger for Chef Harry (Brett Tucker) from Mistresses. Wedding ring, noted. Oh and my boyfriend, boyfriend, boyfriend. Right, right, right.
Course Four: Asparagus with eel paired with Smaragd. This was my first eel experience and a week later I don’t recall it. Maybe I was shocked like an electric eel…maybe it was all that vino.
Course Five: The Tuna Course. A tuna menage a trois if you will. Raw (huge thumbs up), seared, and a third way that escapes me… the most memorable thing about this dish was that the adorable Italian female chef explained how the sauce was tuna blood. May be so, but…well…I picked at this one. Paired with Rioja.
Course Six: The White Course. Turbot in a smoked butter and milk sauce. Again, a week later, it escapes my memory a bit. Paired with Chardonnay.
The adorable Italian chef and resident pastry chef as I recall. She’s out for tuna blood even though a chicken rests in front of her. Is she not the doppelgänger of the Portuguese chick from Love Actually? (Why are all of these chefs so gorgeous?!)
Course Seven: The Chicken Course. Mine was without the black trumpet mushrooms, please and thank you. Crispy, juicy, and oh damn, that gravy though! This was wonderful and a true testament to the skills of this restaurant. Paired with a Burgundy.
Course Eight: The Chocolate Course. There was a wonderful chocolate crumble with a black olive ice cream. Say whaaaa. Not a fan of olives, I loved this! The brininess of this was fantastic as everyone knows salty sweet desserts are the best!
Course Nine: Apricot. With beer, lavender, and creme fraiche. As I recall that rectangle bit was like a creme fraiche “stone.” Yes, please! Such flavor! Paired with a dessert wine, Ducle Juan, which was not at all for my palate, so good ole Dale poured me plenty of more Burgundy.
Not a Course: The third round of desserts. At this point, I was about four glasses of wine too deep to take notes. 😉
The Chef’s Counter at Avecita was an absolutely incredible experience. I’m so glad that I committed to the gauntlet and would recommend it to anyone, especially for a fun date night that would be quick to impress. I would return to the Kimpton Seafire in a heartbeat the next time the Chef’s Counter changes its menu, just relive the experience and see what creative deliciousness is coming out of that gorgeous kitchen. Thank you so much to the Ave/Avecita staff for taking such good care of me and sending me home from vacation eight pounds heavier and in need of a detox. The mark of a great vacation, for certain.