ARRO: A Taste of French
By Dr Jeffrey Hall
Arro had a history before it even opened. Originally, the plan by the owners was to open the restaurant on Burnet Rd. However, as fortune would have it Haddington’s Restaurant on 6th Street closed and the space became available. Plans changed and Arro was relocated to the more central location. The owners also run Easy Tiger/Bakery and the menu has a heavy bread influence. The menu was organized but somewhat confusing with the cheese plate, chef plate and individual cheeses to order. Definitely, it gave you choices to fit your palate and hunger. Basically, one could choose a la carte or from a fixed price three course meal. After we confirmed the portion sizes which were that same as the main entrees we opted for the fixed price.
Walking in the first thing to observe was how it had changed since it was the previous restaurant. The bar and kitchen areas remained the same. The restaurant space had been opened up by the removal a couple of interior walls that had created another room with booth seating. Now, with the openness the atmosphere was brighter and seemed more sociable. Simple tables were close to one another but the sound was not loud. It was not over the top fancy but it was well thought out. Score-8.
They did not start off on the right foot. I had made reservations and we were sat at a corner table that was crammed up against a glass wall. It definitely was not very romantic or private. We inquired about moving to a different table and were told there were no other tables available. This seemed odd since it was early and they were not crowded. There was an abundance of open tables. So, we did not want to leave and kept our table. After this faux pas they righted the ship and the service was outstanding. They were very attentive yet not obtrusive. After agreeing on the sequence of the meal they did service the soup prematurely. It was probably a miscommunication issue since the server and waiter were different individuals.
We opted for the cheese plate along with the fixed price three course meal. The cheese plate was three French cheeses(soft/buttery, blue cheese, and firm/sharp) that was served with a tomato jam, bread, pickled peaches, and toasted crackers. They paired together marvelously especially the pungent blue cheese and the sweetness of the jam. The breads were good but they needed more flavor to match the intensity of the cheeses/jam/peaches. The tomato bisque soap was over the top good and we could have another bowl. The texture was perfect to balance with the flavor. Our entrée was the mussels con frites which was a major disappointment. The mussels were over cooked and tough. The broth was chunky and did not have much flavor. I guess I was expecting it to compare to another restaurant in town that serves the same dish which is mouthwatering. Finally, the saving grace was the dessert. We took the server’s advice and ordered the pot de crème which was heavenly. It was a ramkin filled with a chocolate filling that was chilled and had the consistency of cream cheese in that it was firm but yet smooth and creamy. The flavor was not too sweet or to intense. There was a home made peanut brittle served crumble over the top. It reminded me of a peanut butter cup. It was refreshing to finish with an upbeat since dessert can be a disappointment in some of the other local restaurants. Presentation was above average. Score-8.