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Five Things to Know About: Avant

Something different: Delray’s thriving cultural scene finds a culinary complement with the arrival of Avant, a collaboration between Society 8 Hospitality Group and Nxt Big Thing. The 4,600-square-foot space, formerly home to SoLita and Mastino, has been reimagined as a hip, inviting ode to the social aspect of dining—and a celebration of art in its many incarnations.

Cool cocktails: The restaurant’s vibe extends to the “Shaken” cocktail menu with 10 names that, when read from start to finish, complete a sentiment about the craft offerings. Highlights among the artfully presented cocktails include: Influence (Bulleit bourbon, blackberry, sage and lemonade) and Comes & Goes (Casa Noble tequila, watermelon, agave, lime and sour).

 

Picture this: The eclectic array of artwork—including a 3-D wall installation made of walnut, metal and mirrors—echoes New York’s guerrilla art movement of the early 1980s, which helped to inspire the decor. A different Delray artist will be featured each month in the lounge behind the front bar; all local works are for sale.

 

We are the world: Society 8’s Steven Dapuzzo describes the small plates and entrees as a “greatest hits menu” that spans the globe when it comes to influences. Think mini tacos, Korean barbecue short ribs, truffle lobster grilled cheese (right), coffee-rubbed hanger steak, Green Goddess salad (left) and the eggplant stack (a holdover from the SoLita days). “You want traditional? We have a filet mignon,” Dapuzzo says. “You want something fun? Try the charred octopus (in cauliflower puree with tomato pancetta).”

 

The last word: “Dining has become very mechanical, almost chain-like,” Dapuzzo says. “We wanted to give people something to talk about, something that speaks to sociable dining and not about having a quiet tablecloth dinner. That’s a thing of the past.”

Avant

Where: 25 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach

Phone: 561.921.8687

Website: society8.com

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