WineandDineSanDiego.com: AVANT to Open as Culinary Destination in San Diego

AVANT to open as culinary destination in San Diego
by WDSD News Staff

October 15 2012 | WineandDineSanDiego.com
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San Diego – Slated to open early 2013, AVANT (Uh-Vahnt), housed in San Diego’s acclaimed luxury resort Rancho Bernardo Inn, will replace El Bizcocho, the legendary restaurant which set the stage for San Diego’s fine dining scene when it opened 44 years ago.

The new space represents a $2.5 million transformation, designed to pay proper homage to the culinary history, oenophile roots and legendary ambiance of the original space. The long awaited new restaurant, AVANT focuses on unpretentious, approachable cuisine with homegrown culinary touches paired with handcrafted classic cocktails, local craft beer and boutique wines from around the world.

AVANT — meaning culturally or stylistically advanced— is indicative of the innovative culinary offerings of the menu and the restaurant’s new social spaces designed to offer multiple settings for guests’ enjoyment – including bar, portico, lounge and dining room seating. The name is an elegant counter-balance to the rich, warm and earthy décor of the venue.

At the helm is Nicholas Bour, whose passion for food, fresh ingredients and authentic flavor was solidified at an early age while growing up on a working organic farm. Meals were made from each day’s harvest, cultivating a palate for ingredients in their natural state – an appreciation which follows Bour into the AVANT kitchen.

“My cuisine is simple and fresh, focusing on the ingredients and how to best make them shine,” says Bour. “I look forward to creating new culinary experiences for diners by bringing seasonal ingredients to center stage, leaving over-manipulated food behind.” Sourcing ingredients from Rancho Bernardo Inn’s on-property garden and local purveyors, sumptuous entrees, plus smaller plate options will answer restaurant goers’ desire for a more advanced culinary experience when dining.

The AVANT menus will be available throughout the restaurant and bar’s 139 seats (with additional seating in two private dining rooms) whether guests are tasting gourmet cheeses and hand-sliced meats at the oversized bar and charcuterie station, enjoying golf course views on the AVANT patio or engaging in lively conversation in the dining room. Guest’s palates will be piqued with culinary highlights to include, “you-be-the- judge” tastings and other artisanal food samples.

Menu highlights:

Charcuterie & Cheese You-Be-The-Judge Tastings

  • Sonoma duck or La Quercia prosciutto
  • Iberico ham or Benton’s country ham
  • Cowabunga (soft cow’s milk stuffed with goat milk) and house-made burrata
  • House-made pates and rillettes

Small Plates

  • Retro deviled eggs, with Chef’s selection of seasonal inclusions
  • Fried Padron peppers with sea salt
  • Crispy Cod cheeks with tartar sauce

Entrees

  • Sonoma duck breast confit Shepard’s Pie with turnips and huckleberry
  • Dry-aged steak with toasted faro, kale and bacon vinaigrette
  • Line-caught swordfish with cauliflower, roasted pepper and arugula
  • Baja Grouper with heirloom beans and salsa verde

AVANT’s wine and spirits experience will provide an array of libation options including a minimum of six wines on tap in addition to a working wine room and the finest classic cocktails utilizing a state-of-the-art ice cube program which by design cools faster, melts slower and doesn’t distort the taste of beverages.

AVANT guests will be treated to unique visuals throughout the 6,500 square foot space, which include a large rustic bar topped with Apple Jasper Concetto Caesarstone and Zinc complemented with a fire engine red vintage Berkel manual flywheel charcuterie slicer and two custom-built mustard taps. Seasonal mustard-on-tap offerings like Temecula Valley Honey and Rosemary Dijon will rotate and be enjoyed at the table or taken home in locally sourced, custom-made earthenware pots.

Transforming the interiors of AVANT to stand apart yet be warm and inviting is at the hands of Orange County’s Hatch Design Group.

Highlights of the space include operational floor to ceiling windows, chef served meat and cheese displays, two natural stone, wood-burning fireplaces and two private dining rooms – the largest accommodating parties and events of up to 50. Borrowing from the warmth and ease of the California Ranch style, rich wood textures together with cozy leather furniture and woven textural fabric are used throughout the restaurant to exude comfort and familiarity. Locally sourced furniture made from bourbon barrels combined with tables and bar tops constructed from heritage wood lends itself to its rustic and affable atmosphere.

AVANT will serve dinner Thursday through Sunday from 4pm to 10pm and Friday and Saturday from 4pm to 11pm. The bar and patio will open daily from 4pm to close. À la carte brunch will be served on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm. For reservations, 858.675.8550. For more information and to sign up for AVANT renovation updates, please visit www.avantrestaurant.com and facebook.com/avantrestaurant.