Thought I'd report on my dining experience at Ava's. Excuse my very general adjectives (lazy me) b/c overall this place was a winner.
Beautiful, casual, modern place in yellow/beige, sparkling clean - it was a Sunday night so it was very quiet. The decor was very unlike the old Italian restaurants of NY, but that was fine by me.
The olives they brought out were great - there was this one spicy olive I've never had before - YUM. The bread was good, but as an aside, we were laughing b/c the basket to hold extra toilet paper in the bathroom was an EXACT copy of the bread basket the wait staff brought around.
For apps, I had the mussels, which aside from some Fra Diavolo mussels I had in City Island, NY, they were the second best mussels I've ever had. I think they should put out extra bread with them b/c you need something to sop up the juice.
Other apps were the antipasto (SO much food in the HALF size and very good) and mozz wrapped in speck - delicious and the ham around them was crisp and yummy.
I had halibut with roasted potatoes. My halibut was a little dry - it need a drop of sauce on it before it came out. The other entree I tried was a mushroom risotta which was creamy and hot and out of this world. I tried a side of brocolli rabe which was too bitter for me, but great for everyone else. I also tried the side parsnips and mashed potatoes - both very nice and suprisingly light. I found portions to be perfect - not too big (in general, I am not a family portion fan, though growing up in NY, this was common at Northern Italian restaurants)
For dessert, we shared the cannolli (it was ok, I prefer a hard shell and a more ricotta-tasting cream -this was in a crepe and the ricotta was too thin and chocolately), GREAT gelati (marsascapone and honey/chocolate), GREAT sorbet (lemon) and a wonderful cheesecake with marsa and chesnut sauce (?) topping...wow-wee, was that perfect.
Service was great - the waiter had good timing and was soft spoken -- actually he spoke almost too low and we couldn't hear him! But his accommodating manner and timing was perfect.
We got lucky and had no trouble parking.
One odd thing - there was only one other table filled and one person at the table got up four times to retch loudly in the bathroom...yes, retch...and then sauntered back to his table to keep eating. Eating disorder? Cystic fibrosis sufferer? We didn't know, but it made it interesting and didn't diminish our appetites.
Hope that help someone planning to dine at Ava!
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