By Dylan Toolajian
Having heard the great reviews of excellent food and service, I was inspired to check out Avenue Kitchen, Villanova’s recent addition to the local restaurant scene.The restaurant, a bistro-style family eatery with fresh American cuisine, is situated roughly one half-mile from the center of campus, at 789 Lancaster Avenue.
Accompanied by friend and fellow foodie, sophomore biochemistry major Karen Loor, I took the 10-minute walk to the restaurant for a casual dinner.
Avenue Kitchen sits in the back row of the Villanova shopping center. Its clean interior is uncomplicated by gimmicks, furnishings or design—plenty of candles and simple chandelier-like fixtures provide ample light for diners.
The dining room is shaped in such a way to limit noise from the bar at the back wall, and allows servers to navigate the different seating areas of the room easily. Karen and I were seated promptly, having made an advanced reservation, and looked over the menu.
The restaurant features classic American food with a fresh, uncomplicated twist. The menu boasts an impressive list of sandwiches that, accompanied by such favorites as short rib, hand-cut fettuccine and sautéed scallops, make for choices at a range of prices.
We started with roasted garlic hummus as an appetizer, which consists of plenty of freshly grilled pita and a selection of tomato, cucumber and feta cheese with a light vinaigrette. It was a good warm-up for the main event—very fresh and inviting but not bogged down by heavy flavors or textures that can put off one’s appetite.
For the entrée, I chose Avenue Kitchen’s achiote marinated grilled chicken sandwich. The peppery marinade on the grilled chicken breast complimented the smooth, buttery quality of fresh avocado. Grilled on rosemary ciabatta, with pepper jack cheese melted on top, the whole number has quite a bit of heat to it and flavor to match. Served with the restaurant’s characteristic sea salt French fries, it’s a winning dish.
Karen and I had every intention of ordering desert, but couldn’t resist finishing our entrées and finding out too late that we were stuffed. Thankfully, our waitress was kind enough to show us the evening’s selection regardless.
Avenue Kitchen does not provide a concrete dessert menu—instead the rotation of seasonal desserts is changed every night. The entire selection is placed on a platter for the table to look over and order from, if diners so choose.
With an appetizing menu of soups, salads, pizza, sandwiches and full-sized entrees, Avenue Kitchen’s selection and atmosphere suit the casual meal-goer as effectively as they do the pickiest of eaters.
Price point varies from $11 to almost $30, depending on the entrée, and many of the dishes can fit a reasonable budget.
Avenue Kitchen is a great little bistro that can more than satisfy any hungry Villanovan’s craving for an upscale meal at a reasonable price.