We’re Enjoying: Dinner at Restaurant Ava

Gary and I went on an adventure Friday night to Rockwall for dinner.  Yes, a statement I didn’t think I would ever say, but we wanted to check out our friend, Chef Randall Copeland’s place, Restaurant Ava.  We know Randall and his partner Nathan Tate’s food from the many, many charity events the duo participate in, and love it.  But we had never been out to their actual restaurant.  So we set out on an adventure, which was destined to be great as we drove through first rain we have seen in months….a simply glorious site.

Located in the charming downtown Rockwall, Restaurant Ava was opened by the pair a few years ago with the goal to create a restaurant with a seasonal approach using local, local ingredients with an American and sometime French flair.  Comfortable and inviting, with a cozy lounge for enjoying a glass pre or post-dinner, a relaxed dining room that makes you want to relax and stay a while, and a chef’s table in the back with a birds eye view of the open kitchen so you can enjoy the action while experiencing the nightly chef’s tasting menu.

We opted to order a la carte, chosing just a few of the seasonal items to enjoy with a bottle of Helix, Pomatia from Columbia Valley in Washington State.  A red blend of predominantly Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon with good mineral content, bold tannins, smoke, spice, ripe cherry, blackberry and plum flavors.  A great food wine.

Perusing the menu, there is an obvious attention seasonality and local purveyors, with items like Texas sweet corn, Lemley’s tomatoes and local greens.  We started with a cup of Texas sweet corn soup with Spanish chorizo and chili oil.  Rich and decadent with a silky texture and intense fresh corn flavor with just the rich kick of spiciness from the swirl of chili oil.  Hummus and baba ganouj followed, made with Texas olive oil and paired with charred flat bread.  Delicious, with smoky flavors and creamy textures.  We were almost to stuffed from our starters to enjoy our actual dinner, seared day boat scallops with lemon Parmesan risotto for Gary and an heirloom tomato panzanella salad for me.  We managed though, who can turn down lemon Parmesan risotto with sweet, perfectly seared scallops or a juicy, fresh heirloom tomatoes with lightly dressed, housemade croutons, olives and crunchy cucumber.  A delicious and delightful night, and only a 20 minute drive from home.

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