Bar Avignon's date-night ambience, packed wine racks and long, L-shaped bar suggest a pop-in, pop-out place that treats food as one more excuse to order another drink. But with concoctions like the Division Street Cooler, which tastes like a California lawn soaked in vodka (in the very, very best way), who needs food? On the other hand (which, if you're doing things right, should be holding a glass of something else by now), with dishes as well-executed as the pan-seared pork chop, cooked to tender perfection and served with sweet summer squash and chimichurri, who needs drinks? It's a wonderful conundrum of Western profligacy with a very simple solution: You need both. Cheese and meat boards offer a fun match game for five bucks per selection. The solicitous wait staff can guide you to a piquant union of prosciutto, pecorino and peaches, or, if alliteration isn't your bag, you can devise your own combo. Go for the drinks and stay for the food. Or go for the food and stay for the drinks. It doesn't matter, so long as you go.
Order this: Pan-seared pork chop.
Best deal: At 10 bucks, the Niçoise salad is an affordable and well-balanced meal all its own.
I'll pass: The Calabrese is decent, but it doesn't justify the cost-to-quantity ratio.