When you enter Arc you are taken by the incredibly beautiful space: 30 foot ceilings, massive columns, dark woods, modern seamless glass railings, fireplaces, marble, fresh orchids, opulent fixtures, and a complete glass wall, 180 degrees in an arch, 30 feet high, the length of the restaurant overlooking Canada Place and the waters of Burrard Inlet. It is IMPRESSIVE; all caps. It was renovated in 2014 to the tune of $3M and you can see where every penny went. It is truly one of the most grand great rooms in the downtown core restaurant or not!
The Caesar Meyer is a slam dunk and a fantastic way to start a meal. I give it a 9.2/10 on the patented Jenn Chan Photography Caesar metre, one of the highest scores ever allotted. It had a delicious flavour and texture reminiscent of a spicy Campbell's tomato soup and I bloody love Campbell's tomatoes soup, Warhol wasn't the only one! Jenn had the Lavender 75, Arc's take on the French 75 and remarked it was "lemony, a bit bitter, but refreshing and not too overpowering." That's high praise gentlemen!
The meal started with an Arc menu staple, the Beet salad. It had grated goat cheese all over erythang. If you sprinkled goat cheese all over 'Weird' Al Yankovic I would eat him too. Legit. Large, fresh, tangy and sweet beets, both golden and red, and worked marvellously with the cheese.
The Tuna Tartare came next and will be featured prominently in Arc's upcoming 2017 Dine Out offerings. It was highlighted the fresh, supple tuna and large chunks of pickled cucumbers. Combined with subtle jalapeño flavour, delicious candied lime and black sesame seeds because, well, they make everything better. Bland soup; sesame seeds, scrape your knee pour some sesame seeds on it, getting evicted; you guessed it, black sesame seeds. "Being targeted by ISIS; black sesame seeds" thanks Jenn for your nightly contribution, but hopefully your input doesn't land us on any no-fly lists! I once had tuna tartare, ceviche or sashimi 10 times in a week. No exaggeration. This ranks in the top 5 percentile I've ever had in terms of flavour combinations, presentation and freshness.
In between the appetizers and main courses the GM Dave Vo, a genuinely nice man, recommended Jenn try the Yuzu Sour. A lovely mixture of yuzu, cucumber and gin that Dave, himself, was responsible for being on the menu. He beamed when he came back and Jenn told him how much she was enjoying it. Our lovely waiter Arvin then came out with the Arc's famous Flaming Rosemary Gimlet. They flame the rosemary, which they grow on the roof on the Arc, in front of you at your table. They really stress 'garden to glass' at Arc, as some restaurants have started to do, but it doesn't get much more direct than the roof of the restaurant!
The entrées featured, drum roll please, bread. Fresh skillet bread to be exact sweetened with honey from their rooftop bee hives. Rarely does bread take centre stage, and this is no slight against the charred octopus or braised short ribs, but this bread is good! The Charred octopus is local and caught in the waters of the Pacific Ocean which were visible from our elegant table. The octopus was very fresh and complimented the accompanying chorizo perfectly. Dried olives added a lovely flavour and the summer heirloom tomato ragu was simply heavenly! The Braised Beef Short Ribs, braised agonizingly slowly for a full 6 hours, have a scrumptious coffee and chili glaze. Seldom does an entrée, the main protein at least, pair so well with the wine suggested. The Merlot from Burrowing Owl washed down a bite of the short rib in a way that could only be described as preordained. Have you ever gotten into a fistfight over mashed potatoes? It came very close on this night! Light, airy, buttery goodness. 2 small dollops of heavenly mashed potatoes border the plate and were metered Out like rations for a starving man, so good! The Lingcod had a lovely breaded skin that had a crunch that was divine. It came with fingerling potatoes and a Japanese mayo and was very good.
The Dessert platter was immense! The Hoyne Brewery Dark Matter Choco Cake was rich and delicious, the Pistachio Pot de Crème reminded why I used to eat pistachios by the bucketful as a youngster, the Ice Cream Trio was an eclectic bunch with the smooth texture of homemade and the White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake had a simple yet intoxicating flavour. If you could have finished these desserts you're a better man than I and, sadly, a bit had to go into the ever-shameful doggie bag. Head over to Arc and try for yourself and you'll leave as happy as we did!