Short Orders: Avanti Neighborhood Bistro

Avanti Neighborhood Bistro
5001 Addison Circle, Addison

Duck confit consists of meat cooked in its own fat. The French developed a simple process rendering it perfect for storage over those occasional periods of foreign occupation. Merely by ramming it into a crock also packed with fat, duck (or other fatty meats like pork and goose) would keep for weeks.

Avanti Neighborhood Bistro arrays thick and rather chewy slices of breast meat, fat intact, on a plate drenched with a sauce of Grand Marnier. Their menu calls this a confit, but hold on just one damn minute.

Let's think about this. liqueur--that sounds a lot like duck l'orange.

Oh, well. Before we get caught up in the minutiae of menu accuracy, it's worth pointing out that I'm not even certain which name the restaurant itself prefers. The awning proclaims "Neighborhood Bistro" but the building still bears the old "Euro Bistro" sign. They still host live music and dancing. The bar draws a small yet decidedly boisterous (for its age) crowd, even during workweek happy hours.

So is it Neighborhood or Euro? Well, the dishes are fit for the former, priced for the latter, at least when it comes to entrees.

Oh, the l'orange confit is quite edible, wallowing in a rich and vibrant sauce that tilts between the sweetness of fruit juice and bitter caramelization of seared citrus peel. Knock about $4 off the price, maybe $6, and you'd have no qualms ordering whatever it is. The crab cake (not cakes) shows signs of hasty thawing. Still, there's a husky flavor behind swirls of really enticing "Amarillo" sauce.

Now, back to the pesky little semantic details. We live in a world of eggplant caviar and blueberry-pomegranate martinis. There's probably some gelatin tofu or fresh apricot sashimi out there somewhere. When diners don't care about accuracy, restaurants are happy to blur the lines.

Confit? Bistro? Neighborhood? As Humpty Dumpty said, "when I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean."

It was the big egg who said that, right? Eh--doesn't matter.

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Dave Faries
Contact: Dave Faries