Restaurants & Bars 5

Arbor rules

MC Slim JB | Jun 5, 2004 12:48 AM

Had to call in late for our reservation at Arbor, (balky Orange Line), but they were very accommodating. Half a carafe of very tasty sangria helped pass the five minute wait for our table. Cumin-y hummus was a great amuse, with excellent Tuscan bread.

Mezze sampler for first course: choicest of six bits was probably the goat cheese with fines herbes, refreshingly assertive. Lamb kebab, richly spiced, with excellent super-thinly-sliced pickled cucumbers. Roasted, marinated red peppers with cubes of firmer goat cheese. Prawns were less interesting than the carrot salad they topped. Asparagus with a hollandaise-y dressing. Only loser was the smoked-salmon salad (overly salty). Still a beautiful starter, and a steal at $16.

Two plates of green and white gazpacho, a standout: green-tomato puree outside, roasted-garlic puree inside, with lovely floating bits of tiny tomatoes, radish slices, croutons. Truly amazing: I'm glad we ordered two of these.

Next course of two apps: a potato gnocchi with mushrooms, fresh favas, excellent cheeses. Rich, earthy, with light but chewy gnocchi. Very good, rather fine-textured steak tartare, lovely light aoili-like dollop on top, plus a caperberry garnish. Glad to see this served with plain, untoasted baguette rounds.

Dessert of sliced strawberries lightly macerated in excellent balsamic vinegar, dusted with cracked pepper, accompanied by terrific homemade ice cream. A lovely dessert, about the only thing we could handle after slightly over-ordering on dinner.

A half-carafe of Corbieres to wash it down, a very pleasant, bargain-priced table wine ($16). Add a coffee, an espresso, and a port, and the tab came to $118 with tax. Very pleasant, friendly service (about evenly split between hostess and waiter), a leisurely pace to the meal, sleek (rather minimalist) decor. An all-around superb first experience; we'll be back soon, and will bring friends with us.

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