Had a fantastic meal at AOC last night, thanks to the Chowhounds' recommendations! We had a reservation for a table, but ended up sitting at the cheese bar at the back, which was a lot of fun. The highlights of the meal:
Plate of 3 Cheeses: we let them choose, since we are hardly experts (besides, we were sitting at the CHEESE BAR!) We got a really terrific blue cheese that wasn't on the menu -- creamy, but with bite!, a hard French sheeps-milk cheese with rosemary on the outside and olive oil drizzled on it, and a Spanish cows-milk cheese that was really smooth and mild. We ate the cheese with tiny little bites, and every single one was worth savoring.
Bacon-Wrapped Dates: What a winner of a tiny-dish!! an exquisite blend of sweetness and saltiness (tasted more complex than that, but you know what I mean!)
Lamb-Skewers: Something about this dish really pleased us. Maybe how the fullness of the lamb combined with the cool cumin yogurt, or how the sweet carrot puree went surprisingly well with the olives alongside it.
We also had a terrific carafe of Zinfandel (Kunin Paso Robles 2001, I think). We liked the salad we ordered (something with corn and chili), but probably wouldn't get it again. Were less than thrilled with the grilled yellowtail (it was super-salty and not too flavorful otherwise, but cooked nicely). We really liked the olives and the olive spread we got when we first sat down, but we weren't big fans of those oily bread-crisp things.
Overall, it was a really enjoyable dining experience, and we'll definitely go back. Thank you all for recommending it!