A casual wine bar owned by chef Paul Kahan of neighboring Blackbird, Avec keeps things simple: top-quality ingredients in simple preparations that take inspiration from Italian, French, and Spanish cuisines. The menu focuses on a variety of "small plates" meant for sharing (although there are always five or six entree-size offerings as well). The long, narrow dining room, with its wood walls and floors, will strike you as either cramped or cozy. I know many people who love Avec's convivial spirit; others find it annoyingly crowded and loud. Small plates include salads and appetizer-style dishes such as house-made watercress pasta with lamb confit, zucchini cream, and spring vegetables; and dates stuffed with chorizo sausage. Large plates feature seasonal ingredients and tend to be heartier (prosciutto with honeycomb, orange zest, Marcona almonds, and black peppercorn vinaigrette, for example). There's also a good selection of specialty cheeses and -- of course -- an extensive European-focused wine list.