We live in the Bible belt. In our county one can order a cocktail, but not until after 12 p.m. Because that's when Jesus takes his nap.
That Sunday tradition has for the most part been replaced with more recession-friendly activities, like cooking at home and drinking bottom-shelf hooch.
But this week we revived it for a day, making our triumphant return to Avo, a relatively new 'ham establishment characterized by one of those infuriatingly unpronounceable names that makes you say, "Hey, you wanna go to Ay voe? Ah voe? Whatever?"
Turns out it's Ah vo, short for avocado.
The decor is whitewhitewhite with big windows ushering in pretty light and views of storybook rooftops. When I saw the too-cheerful sunflowers occupying oh-so-modern square vases on each table, I was all, "Mary Engelbreit decorated this place?"
But then I realized they were real, and I had my comeuppance.
TFin and I both ordered the Sutter's Hill, a sunrise comprised of Hangar One vodka, freshly squeezed orange juice, tangerine juice, and house-made grenadine.
Topped with one of those horrible cartoonish cherries, which I normally hate but relished in this incarnation. It gave the whole thing a Shirley Temple quality. If Shirley needed a swift buzz. The tangerine juice cut the orange juice's classic cloying nature, and the grenadine was sweet without being too mawkishly cherry flavored.
I ordered the fish tacos, beer-battered cod with cabbage slaw and poblano salsa.
The fish was a little underseasoned, but these are all about texture, and the cabbage slaw added that beautifully. It was subtly dressed, but the poblano salsa, a nice touch, needed a little more kick for my taste. The slightly charred tortillas were a nice touch, but a girl needs more than two wimpy lime wedges!
For dessert, I had the blackberry chantilly pie, a rather odd concoction that LSis declared "like a Jell-O no-bake dessert." The gingerbread crust was strangely not at all crusty, and there's just something disconcerting about eating purple food.
The chocolate mousse TFin ordered fared not much better.
The florentines were crunchy and nutty, but the mousse lacked chocolate flavor and the brandied cherries may have given an unsuspecting LSis baby Stella's first hangover. And the portion was absurd. A mousse is a dessert best served by the spoonful, not the bucketload.
I think the problem with Avo for Sunday brunch is that you're looking to be wowed—The Foodimentary Guy ordered the steak and potatoes, which was $20. When you order cocktails at $10 a pop, your expectations are high. You want fireworks, or solid-gold flatware, or shirtless waiters.
The dining room was echoingly empty, which made the pace of the meal rather breakneck. On our way out we ducked into Dram, the whiskey bar that occupies downstairs space from Avo, and the menu there looks inventive (if also prohibitively expensive). I spied bison burgers and masculine black-and-white horse photographs and—gasp!—poutine.
Oh, maybe I'll go back. I can do without some of the finer things, like "laundry detergent" and "dog food."
2721 Cahaba Rd
Mountain Brook, AL 35223-2333