Nancy Hunt and Randy Goodman have transformed the space that once belonged to the Red & Black Cafe. Where once was a newspaper clipping of Bruce Springsteen scrawled with the words “The only boss we listen to” is now a sleek bar lined with bottles of single-malt scotch near an exposed kitchen crafting dishes like chicken-liver pâté. The Boss has left the building. In his place is a stellar wine list (most bottles are available “to go” for 25 percent off), and a chocolate-and-blue space with down-tempo music. The ever-changing meat and cheese boards are fun: Pick a cheese or cured meat and an accompanying condiment like herb-roasted olives, dense Italian panforte fruitcake and Buzzing Canyon honey—hand-harvested in Estacada. Whatever big tastes you choose arrive in Lilliputian portions with a few slices of baguette. Other tasty options include the chilled leek-and-potato soup and the salt cod brandade. Bar Avignon’s light and creamy take on this classic French fish bake is served with a baguette and tart housemade slaw.
IDEAL MEAL: Cheese board, wine, panino, aperitif.