bells (Very good)Self-taught chef-owner John Brandt-Lee has transitioned well from the dining room to the kitchen and transformed his West Chester dining destination into a slightly more casual space dedicated to rustic Italian flavors. The cooking is an ambitious work in progess, but the kitchen's learning curve is steep and already shows enough promise (and great values on the tasting menu) to make Avalon a worthy all-occasion spot to keep tabs on in the western burbs.
Arancini; mushroom bruschetta; red wine bacon salad; sauteed calamari; charcuterie and cheese boards; shrimp cannelloni; caramelized onion agnolotti with snails; pork shoulder and sausage; lamb stew and spicy meatball special; cioppino; salmon with caponata; chocolate Valpolicella; rice pudding; pumpkin bread pudding; chocolate-hazelnut crepes.
BYOB. Think Italian country vino for the rustic flavors of this meal - a Chianti Classico (perhaps Isole e Olena?) or a nice round Umbrian Rubesco from Lungarotti for red, and a crisp seafood-friendly white like Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi from a good producer like Bonci.
Can hit a very noisy 92 decibels, but decent table spacing makes conversation possible. (Ideal is 75 decibels or less.)