My husband and I set aside a certain amount of money every month for date night. Date night usually consists of ordering take out after the kids are in bed which is all perfectly good and fine occasionally. The problem with in-house date night is distraction – distraction to computers, tv, chores, every day mundane life – instead of focus. Focus on our words, faces, being a couple. The other week date night at Avero Bar Italiano was a glaring reminder of that.
I was invited to check out the re-invented Avero Bar Italiano and to bring a plus one. No-brainer there, I took my husband. We made reservations for an early dinner, figuring that we would beat the busy time of day and relax in quiet. Good choice. While the restaurant didn’t become crowded it definitely was getting noisier as our evening was wrapping up. Getting there earlier ensured we were able to relax and enjoy chatting without distraction. Except the food was a distraction – a HUGE distraction. I am a foodie and I love to eat well. Eat well we did. Avero recently hired a new chef in their “re-inventing” from pizzeria to trattoria and I can tell you they made a very good choice.
Chef Christopher DeFeo came to our table to chat about the evening’s menu. He likes to cook with fresh seasonal and local ingredients which is a bonus for me. It tastes so much better. We gladly left our menu plan in his hands. I have always wanted to have a meal where the chef creates what he/she wants to so SCORE. We did take a peek at the menu and ordered sodas from it. Dave was happy to order the Coca Cola as it was Mexican Cola with real cane sugar, and I had a Fresh Pomegranate Hibiscus Ginger Ale that was amazing. I don’t drink a lot of soda and this one would be my weakness. Fresh ginger and pomegranate juice make an amazing ginger ale. They also had an extensive beer and wine list with a few signature cocktails that looked delicious and were all in a fair price range but we didn’t order anything from that menu this time.
The first course was a Burrata Crostini. Burrata, a cheese imported from Italy, has an outside edge like mozzarella with the inside being more the texture of a ricotta, rich and creamy it literally melts in your mouth but is very mild flavored so pairs well with the roasted red peppers and balsamic reduction. The dish was simple but flavorful and left me wanting more.
The second course was a beautifully brined then braised pork belly served with charred romaine, fingerling potatoes, and finished with a pork jus that blended whole grain mustard, and sherry perfectly together.
The third course was Day Boat Scallops, our favorite of the evening. We love scallops and these Day Boat Scallops was seared to perfection and served with glazed heirloom cauliflower, chanetrelle mushrooms, and a cauliflower puree with a touch of blood orange – heavenly food.
The fourth course was a perfect winter time comfort dish, just screaming seasonal AND local as the veal comes from Lancaster County. We were served house-made pappardelle with a braised veal and san marzano tomato sauce. HOUSE MADE PASTA, people. This is Italian food done right.
The fifth and final course, dessert. Oh amazing dessert. Dave had a Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding, Chef Christopher’s Nutella inspired dessert. Chock full of hazelnuts and finished off with a scoop of vanilla gelato, my husband ate all but one bite. I may have forgotten to mention my husband HATES bananas with a passion. Oops! And no, I didn’t eat a bite. If I had, I would not be here to tell the tale. He said the banana was there but subtle enough that he, hold the presses, actually liked the dessert! I had a Ricotta Cheesecake with an amaretto crust and topped with brandied cherries. Brandied cherries are a bit much on their own but they are perfect with cheesecake. Yes, I was fine with the amaretto. I rejoice since that means just maybe I can have a little bit of nut flavorings, even if it IS just almond.
I give Avero Bar Italiano 5 stars, or is that forks. From service to chef and food, the evening was a perfect date night for my husband and I. Interested in a chef tasting? Check out what Avero has to offer here. Still making plans for Valentine’s Day? Hmmm…how about making those reservations now?