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BIG CHANGES AT MY FAVORITE COCKTAIL BAR
[Not to mention a new name: "ArtScience Culture Lab and Cafe". Note to David Edwards...I'm a scientist too, but that name is really too verbose lol!]
Co-owner and Bartender Extraordinaire Todd Maul sadly left, so I was going through a bit of a mourning period, but inevitably I got over it. And I'm happy to report that despite many changes, notably a new bartender (Tenzin Samdo) and a new chef (there's been quite a bit of turnover over the past few years), as well as some remodeling of the dining room (fewer tables), ArtScience is still a fantastic place to drink & dine.
In contrast to Todd's voluminous cocktail list, Tenzin's list is quite short, with only about a dozen drinks, each named after an endangered species (with some pertinent wildlife facts). We tried four different cocktails and they were all uniformly excellent (unfortunately, the list is not online and I can't remember their names or ingredients). Beautiful, creative, delicious, and so a worthy continuation of CAS's cocktail excellence.
Yes, they still have the Le Whaf cocktail vaporizer and inhalable vapors, now facilitated by a robot server named Gita. Unfortunately, the robot just happened to be out for a software update when we visited, so we sat at the cocktail bar at the end of our meal to inhale a few interesting aromas "poured" into wine glasses and consumed using glass straws.
As far as dinner, I've always thought the cocktails were the real reason to rush to ArtScience, but the food has always been good to very good. I think that is still true. We tried a couple of apps: an oddly disconcerting but strangely appealing combo of roasted Brussels sprouts and Korean kimchi; and a classic beef tartare with a raw quail's egg yolk on top, served with potato chips.
We also shared an entree of dry-aged duck breast on red rice with figs. A delicious dish, and probably my favorite of the evening. However, despite being tender and juicy, it was more of a well done than the advertised and requested medium rare.
A chocolate ganache for dessert was both beautiful and decadent.
Each dish's presentation was beautiful and service was attentive and engaging.
Easy, affordable parking in the basement of the same building (~50 Linskey Way), and CAS does a partial validation. I also noticed that the ice skating rink is going up out front, so start planning your cocktail-skating outing!
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