Right from the start, the crew at Avance knew two things about the downstairs bar at the former Le Bec Fin. One, it desperately needed a makeover so that everyone in the city who didn’t wish it was still 1987 would stop making fun of it. And two, it needed to have a really good burger or no one was going to take it seriously as a bar no matter what they did to the interior.
City Paper’s Adam Erace dines upstairs and down at Avance. He finds plenty to like on both floors but falls in love with the bar and burger.
The bar is also where you’ll find my favorite thing at Avance. Garnished with onion marmalade, harissa mayo and feta, the perfectly cooked Border Springs lamb burger arrives on a bronzed, sesame seed-speckled potato bun, part of the restaurant’s extraordinary bread program. It is the finest burger I have ever eaten. That it’s served at the old Le Bec makes me love it, and Avance, even more.
Out with the old French guard and in with Avance at the former Le Bec-Fin [City Paper]
Brian Freedman reviews Avance for Philadelphia Weekly. Freedman is full of praise for the two-month old successor to Le Bec Fin and sees it soaring even higher.
But it’s a very good start. In fact, Avance as a whole is so much more than that: Just barely two months into its tenure at that famous address on Walnut Street, it has already done what many thought would be impossible: Staked its own claim on the space and drafted a brand new set of rules. If Avance is this good so early in the game, I can hardly wait to see the heights it eventually achieves. It’s already a standout.
Avance transforms Le Bec-Fin’s old space into brilliant dining magic [Philadelphia Weekly]
I recently had some friends from California in town and they were wondering where to go to get some 100% legal Foie Gras in Philadelphia. So I came up with this list of traditional and creative foie gras dishes.
Drew Lazor profiled Philadelphia-born chef Justin Bogle in yesterday’s Daily News. The piece illuminates Bogle’s upbringing in Roxborough as well gives a look at what he’s cooking at Avance.
As promised, here’s a look inside Avance – chef Justin Bogle‘s new modernist temple on Walnut Street. You can see how he completely revamped the dining room (going with sleek and earthy in about equal measure, and stepping away completely from the Louis XIVth’s sitting room design style that died with the old Le Bec), rearranged the kitchen (yeah, that’s a giant dewar of liquid nitrogen in the corner–but don’t be scared), and finally did away with the mirrors and curtains in the downstairs bar–turning what once looked like the wet bar on a French playboy’s pleasure yacht into the kind of place where a normal human being might actually want to sit and have a drink some time.
Oh, and before you ask? Yes–all that natural wood is black walnut (much of it cut from single logs in order to maintain a matching grain between tables). Which I think is kind of a nice inside joke for a restaurant on Walnut Street.
So you guys know that Avance is opening tonight, right?
Well, for those of you who’ve been living under a rock, it is. Chef Justin Bogle and his crew are limiting the covers slightly tonight–holding the floor to just 60 people–but they’re going to be officially opening the doors for dinner service, and we stopped in to check the place out.
Let me just say this: It ain’t Le Bec Fin. Not even a little bit. We’re going to have a whole bunch of snaps from the dining room, the kitchen and the downstairs bar (which, having never been a fan of the old downstairs bar, is a VAST improvement) ready for you shortly, but for right now, that picture above? That’s tonight’s opening menu at Avance.
Here’s hoping that someday, many years from now, we all look back on this menu as a historical curiosity when Avance is celebrating its 42nd anniversary in the space that Le Bec-Fin once called home.
Justin Bogle’s Avance is moving closer to its opening. Bogle and Avance’s Instagram feed have been alive with behind the scenes shots and teases about what will be on the menu when the restaurant opens later this month.
Check out our one-sheet on Avance from the December issue of Philadelphia magazine and some other shots of the new facade of the former Le Bec Fin.
The most telling quote of the night went like this:
“I’ve never seen twenty-five people eat duck at one in the morning. Wait, it’s two? What the fuck. It’s two in the morning?”
And although I don’t know who spoke it, it was right on the money. Where else would you see such a large group of people sop up a pool of hazelnut miso with a medium rare, dry-aged duck breast so many hours after dinner, and so many hours before breakfast?
Nowhere, that’s where. Nowhere but at the first ever Foobooz After Dark dinner.