Avant at The Rancho Bernardo Inn
I no longer live close to Avant, so it has been almost a year since we stopped by. I haven't written about it since 2017, so I thought it was time for an update. It is still an amazing restaurant. It has a seasonal menu with many creative dishes.
I started with a cocktail of Earl Grey tea, gin, coconut creme and aquafaba. This is a vegan cocktail. The aquafaba created a foamy top. Most cocktails with foam use raw egg white. In addition to being a vegan alternative, the use of aquafaba avoids the concerns about using a raw egg product. Aquafaba is derived from chick peas and has a neutral taste. The cocktail was nice and was a pretty spring pastel blue.
We were served a nice amusée bouche of a gougére stuffed with cheese and topped with a sorrel leaf. The chef uses sorrel in the menu, which is unusual. This leafy green has a nice tart taste, almost like a fresh cranberry. A must have is the Parker House roll, which is served with a sweet compound butter and also a spread made with horseradish. I don't usually enjoy horseradish, but this was mild and was a nice complement to the sweet butter. The large roll, easily split into thirds, was amazing!
For our main courses, I had Sonoma duck accompanied with a duck mousse wrapped in treviso (a cousin of radicchio). I loved it and it was a generous portion of duck. I didn't get even one bite of my friend's halibut. I looked up and it was gone! It was a hearty piece of fish! Just gone!
The setting is very pretty. It is a spacious restaurant, so we had some privacy. It has a nice westward view over the golf course. We could have watched the sunset, if we weren't in the grips of an atmospheric river. It feels like gray skies for the past three months.
In summary - great place with prices about the same as most other fine dining places. My only regret is not getting dessert. I should have taken half the duck home and gotten dessert.