My friend has been wanting to try AOC for months, so last night we finally made it to sit at the cheese bar. We decided to go light with mostly salads and had a wonderful time chatting with the cheese lady (curly blonde hair).
The food: We had a cheese plate with Roaring Forties blue from Tasmania, incredible; and a goat -- maybe Valencay -- that wasn't on the menu but was one of the best chevres I've ever had. The third choice, a very runny stinky French cheese whose name I've forgotten, was a little funky for me but my friend enjoyed it. We also had-- the haricots verts with hazelnuts, proscuitto and burrata -- I've never had burrata but it married very nicely with the proscuitto;--the duck confit salad with radicchio, peaches and pecans. The juxtaposition of the salty, slightly chewy duck with the roasted pecans was pretty amazing;--and the roasted cavolo nero. I love this dish of slightly bitter black cavolo (like raddicchio, I think), which gets sweet and mellow when roasted in a ton of olive oil.
We drank a carafe of Domaine Tempier Bandol Rose so I could pretend I was in France, but it didn't taste quite the same on U.S. soil.For dessert, we had a dulce de leche terrine with some kind of nut brittle topping -- it was good, but could have used a fruity or bitter chocolate sauce or ice cream as all the flavors were similarly carmelish.
The room and service: The restaurant was full and lively but the noise was not overwhelming. Service was excellent -- she went over each cheese with us, asked exactly what order we wanted the dishes in, replaced our plates with clean ones, etc. I highly recommend sitting at the cheese bar when this woman is working. I do think that it probably helps to show an interest in what you are eating and drinking.
The tab: $80 for two including a small carafe of wine, three small plates and a cheese plate, and one dessert. We weren't stuffed, but it was well worth it for the quality of the food.
8022 W. Third St.