Short Orders: Avanti
2720 McKinney Avenue
Some of those classic restaurant pasta dishes get a bit tedious after a few turns of the fork.
Fettuccine alfredo, for instance, combines ribbons of flat pasta with Parmesan, butter and--often--cream. While there's a familiar tang from the cheese and definite richness, the dish offers little intrigue. It's just the same soothing thing, bite after bite.
This is, of course, why certain Italian recipes became popular in the U.S.: they require no deconstruction and very little attention, yet still have the capacity to please most anyone. Even my waiter at Avanti suggested I add grilled chicken to the bowl. Better that way, he explained.
Their version of the dish adapted by a chef named
Alfredo but made famous by Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford
(according to the most common story),.flows in steady, unbending,
monotonous form across the palate. Creamy and smooth, it still makes
you wonder how much the silent film stars had to drink before falling
for this pasta creation. With chicken, however, streaks of bitter
caramelization burned into the meat seem to wake up the cool and tangy
sauce--like the two were meant for each other.
different crowds at different times of day. It's more interesting late
in the evening, of course, although I kind of enjoy the lunch time
atmosphere--a mix of regulars asking for "the usual," suit-and-tie
corner office types and laid back sorts in shorts and Hawaiian shirts.
it's double the comfort: an easy-going formality and easy to understand
food service. The only problem? Well, there's two, really. First,
guests rarely challenge the kitchen to push. Too many times I overhead
people order beef well done to medium well, for instance, thus allowing
line cooks to char the hell out of mediocre quality cuts. That
complacency weaves its way through the menu, as dishes like stuffed
mushrooms come out fine, but not interesting.
That's the second problem.