14 Nov From Morning to Night, From Coffee to Wine – Head to Bar Avalon in Echo Park
From morning to night, Bar Avalon in Echo Park is the place to be. Located in the Mohawk Collective development on Sunset Boulevard, Bar Avalon is a casual neighborhood restaurant where you can start your day with coffee and end your day with wine.
Bar Avalon is located inside a brick building with floor to ceiling glass walls. Inside the space is has high barn-wood ceilings which make the space seem larger than it is. Exposed brick walls and leather booths warm the space. The open kitchen offers seating so that you can watch the cooks work. You can also sit at the bar that is cleanly decorated with wine bottles. There is also an outside patio where one can dine and also where you will find planters with herbs that the kitchen uses. All in all, it is a cool east-side space.
Bar Avalon is owned by parent company Revelator Coffee out of Atlanta. While they have coffee bars and cafes on the east coast, this is their first venture in Los Angeles. Revelator partnered with Chef Joshua Guarneri, who was previously at Hearth & Hound in Hollywood, and General Manager and Beverage Director Nathaniel Muñoz, who was previously at The Rose in Venice.
Chef Joshua Guarneri has created a casual, neighborhood shareable menu of new American comfort food. And, Nathaniel Muñoz has curated a wine list featuring wines from the Americas. Every wine on the menu is offered by the glass and there are 40 different wines to chose from. Wines are listed by latitude and you can select wines from north or south of the equator and “wines that chill” (white wines) and “wines that get no chill” (red wines).
As soon as we sat down, we decided to start with a glass of wine. My friend described what she likes and he poured her the Lioco Rose Indica Carignan from Mendocino.
For me, I happily put my palate in the hands of Nathaniel. He selected a super cool wine – Hudson Aleatico from Carneros, Napa Valley. Aleatico, a Corsican black muscat variety, is an unusual red grape variety grown in central Italy. A very small amount is planted in Carneros and Hudson makes it as a dry aromatic white wine with peach, honeysuckle, nutmeg and mineral notes.
The menu is succinct with four sections. Tasty Bits are small plates to start. Big Decisions are the larger dishes. The other two sections are Veg and Miscellany which can round out whatever you choose as the Big Decision.
Fried Smelt with gribiche – Six smelt are fried in a tempura batter. When they are fried, they plump up. The batter is light and tasty and the creaminess of the mayonnaise egg sauce was a nice contrast with the crispy fish.
Cultured Butter with bread and boqueornes – I am always drawn to the bread on a menu if it is served with cultured butter. I was expecting French or sourdough bread with a crunchy crust. Instead is was a dense whole grain bread. Another unique item were the boquerones, fresh anchovies in vinegar and olive oil. The tangy and salty fish were an interesting combination with the rich butter.
All Day Caesar with anchovied croutons – Long leaves of romaine are stacked on top of each other with large crunchy croutons. The dressing is tangy but also creamy and Parmesan cheese is grated on top. The best way to each the salad was with your hands, one leaf at a time.
Blue Prawns with n’duja and preserved lemon – Three peeled prawns still have their heads on and are served with n’duja and preserved lemon.
This was the big decision of the night. We debated between the Seiichi’s Catch, a black cod a la plancha with brodo, couscous and tendrils and Peri Peri Chicken with crispy potatoes and cilantro. And we ended up with the Lamb Braise, a lamb shoulder in tomato, ras al haut and big chunks of cucumber and yogurt to cool it down. The meat was tender and the sauce so flavorful. This was a very comforting dish that I can imagine craving on a cold night.
Market Beans was a good side dish to the lamb braise. Long beans and green beans are cooked in a tomato sauce with fenugreek and sheep’s milk yogurt. It looked like a pasta dish but was all vegetables.
And to pair with the lamb braise and market beans, Nathaniel poured us “wines that get no chill” with the Last Light Pinot Noir Derbyshire San Luis Obispo and Delmore Syrah Central Coast.
Carrot Halwa is grated carrots cooked with toasted pinenuts and whipped coconut cream. Such a warm and comforting dish with lots of brown spices, and not very sweet, it was like eating the filling of a pumpkin pie, but made with carrots.
For a cool option, we also had the Revelator Ice Cream lime sorbet with cucumber jalapeno granite and fresh mint from the garden outside. This was a refreshing palate cleanser to end the meal.