Dining Guide to Local Austin Restaurants
DINING PICK: ARRO
In the young professional’s playground known as West Sixth Street lies a respite called Arro. When the 20- and 30-somethings tire of bouncers behind velvet ropes and beer-swilling hipsters playing ski ball, they can stroll over to Arro for a civilized meal. But civilized doesn’t mean staid or boring.
Arro is French after all, so it has plenty of sex appeal and style. It just means that amid all the bustle of West Sixth, there’s now a place to sit down and have a real meal, as opposed to the area’s predominant choices of pizza, burgers, tacos, and bar food.
Located on the former site of Haddington’s pub and run by the folks behind 24 Diner and Easy Tiger, Arro has been re-imagined as a casual-chic French bistro. Good-bye tartan plaid wallpaper and dark, choppy rooms. Bonjour cool neutrals and open, inviting spaces. Flickering votives illuminate the appealing scene. And since this is West Sixth Street, it is a scene. So although there’s no live band or DJ spinning tunes, the music is eclectic and loud and reflects the diverse clientele that fills Arro each night: a mash-up of singles in packs, couples on dates, and groups of business diners.
Arro serves multiple purposes. It’s a great spot for just a drink, some appetizers, or a full-blown meal. Let’s start with the drinks. The wine list is curated by some of Austin’s hottest young sommeliers and the all-French selections run the gamut from excitingly obscure to old-world classic. Cocktails are given equal billing and are crafted with loving attention. For nibbling, the bread offerings are a carb addict’s dream. Easy Tiger breads served with your choice of accompaniments: flavored whipped butters, cheeses, charcuterie or pickled vegetables. Or if you can’t decide, the Chef’s Board offers a little of each.
The bone marrow appetizer is old school with a twist: marrow is scooped out then mixed with a pistou sauce of garlic, basil, celery and Comte cheese. The vegetable tart is a light yet decadently-rich combination of cheese and seasonal veggies baked in flaky puff pastry. Both French onion soup and steak tartare are classically executed. And although listed under appetizers, Scallops Provencal is substantial enough to be an entrée, adorned with, tomatoes, thyme, and arugula.
Between courses, the herb salad is lovely palate cleanser, bright with basil, mint, chives, and radishes. For entrees, the roasted grouper is sublime, resting atop fresh vegetable ratatouille and finished with sorrel sauce. Two classic bistro dishes, roasted chicken and steak frites, also satisfy. Desserts are less successful but beautifully presented. Currently open for dinner only, Arro satisfies late-night diners with a full menu until midnight on weeknights and 2am on weekends. A new happy hour menu has recently been unveiled. And though French in flavor, Arro ditches the attitude with service that’s unfailing polite and helpful. Tres bien!
Photography by Jessica Pages