Walking into Avec Nous is like entering another world… it is a perfect pairing between a relaxed St. Tropez villa and a cool Californian style lounge. The ambiance is serene, the music relaxing and at a perfect pitch, the lighting fixtures are splendid, yet not ostentatious while the fire purrs gently. The camel semi-circular booths beckon me with their comfort, as I slide into one and admire my pristine yet warmly set table. To my delight, a lovely server named Grace immediately appears to welcome me. I confide why I am there and that I would love to be at her mercy to taste whatever she feels would be a good beginning for me to sample a representation of Avec Nous.
Without hesitation, she suggests the French 75 – a mix of gin, absinthe, and meyer lemon effervescence with anise and ripe fruit. I normally do not enjoy absinthe, anise or gin and express such to Grace, however, she assures me that it is light, refreshing and will be perfect on such a warm spring afternoon. It is brought moments later with a lemon swirl and a flourish, it is a flute full of flavour and Grace was perfectly right – it is the sublime beginning to my experience.
My companion is unfortunately caught up in the always frustrating “LA traffic”, so I settle down to peruse the menu and it is filled with all kinds of things I WANT TO EAT: charcuterie, flatbreads, an assortment of crostini paired with chips, pastas, seafood and onnnnnn and on. Meanwhile, a trio of snacks magically appears in front of me, with mixed nuts, fresh crunchy salty potato chips and sweet popcorn. My tastebuds are enamoured.
I share with Grace that a charcuterie sounds perfect as a starter. She recommends a few things, including what she assures me is her absolute favourite: Fourme d’Ambert. I agree and select the duck prosciutto as well as the Aged Goat Crottin. The platter arrives just as my guest does and Grace attentively takes her order for a glass of Pinot Noir. We dive into the salty, smoky proscuitto – which is perfectly suited to my very necessary flute of bubbly (how else to clink my champagne sisters?!). The wine arrives, and it is met with great pleasure. The charcuterie is definitely a success.
The Chef surprises us with a delicious amuse bouche of ahi and it certainly readies our palate for the next course – a platter of succulent, plump and oh-so-fresh oysters, we slurp them back with gusto!
Our mains are asked and deliberated carefully, we choose the scallops and the seabass. Both can be amazing if executed correctly and “meh” if made hastily. Chef Roger comes out to check on his courses to ensure we are happy. It is such a surprising personal touch, we are thrilled to tell him about the distinct char flavor of the seabass, the fennel pairing which is perfection and my guest exclaims over the orange sauce under the scallops (we want MORE). Chef Roger laughs with delight and makes us feel like we’ve made a friend, he cares. We are further enraptured…
Our next course borne of utter curiosity arrives: a lobster BLT flatbread. It is almost a tease and is the best thing we ate all dinner. The succulent lobster, salty bacon, ripe, sweet tomatoes, etcetera…you know what you expect with a BLT, but this one actually leaves the conversation at a full stop.
The dessert arrives, it is a chocolate napoleon tower of pillowy mousse interspersed with crisp fresh crackers. The flavour is velvety and light, and the crackers are not too sweet, a perfect ending because it is not rich or overwhelming…
Following that are two delicious apres cocktails that the bar sends over as a surprise for us to taste. They both have strong flavours, but are missing that little extra oomph. My companion is a cocktail connoisseur and on one suggests a few drops of orange liqueur and on the other a sprinkle of nutmeg. The bartender agrees and whisks them back, they are sheer perfection!
The service felt extraordinarily attentive and caring, Grace was with us every step of the way and Sean the manager came out for a very informative chat. As for the food, Chef Roger executed flawlessly and checked on our meals to be sure we were enjoying them. I adored that the bartenders were completely open to suggestions! What a joy to feel “part” of the experience and that it was ultimately bespoke and customized for us…
Très très bon Avec Nous! We can’t wait to come back for their social hour and have already been crowing to everyone we meet about how they must make a reservation at once to try it out for themselves…
Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills
9291 Burton Way
CA 90210, USA