Avant restaurant debuts with art, small plates and a 12-foot bear

Correspondent

Avant

25 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach, 561-921-8687, AvantDelray.com

The owners of side by side SoLita and Mastino have gutted them for this dramatic conversion in Pineapple Grove.

“In part, Avant refers to “avant-garde” and is themed after the Avant New York City street-art movement. Local artists are going to rotate,” says Steven Dapuzzo of Society 8 Hospitality Group, which also owns Park and Ocean in Fort Lauderdale. “We’re using a lot of copper and brass, warm wood. It’s retro with a vintage flair.”

A 12-foot bear sculpture in the front courtyard looms over the covered patio, which boasts AC and heaters. Inside, decorative mirrors throughout two rooms pull together Italian gold-leaf art pieces, elevated blue chenille semicircular booths, globe chandeliers, a black-and-white herringbone porcelain floor and a hidden lounge behind the marble-topped bar.

“The menu is primarily global-inspired small plates,” Dapuzzo says. “We have a grow wall off the kitchen of organic lettuces and herbs.”

Highlights include braised short-rib rice ball ($11), Drunken Mussels with pink vodka sauce, pancetta and fries ($15), truffle lobster grilled cheese ($16), Asian-glazed sticky beef ribs ($24) and a dessert of layered red velvet cake and cheesecake ($12).

Cocktails ($12) feature the Shaken with vodka, Chambord, tarragon syrup and blackberries.

Dinner is served nightly.

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