ARRO: Soft Opening Bodes Well

Frenching it up Downtown

Duck Confit with figs and cherries

ARRO, the newest endeavor of the ELM Restaurant Group (24 Diner, Easy Tiger) is slated to open to the public this weekend on July 20th.

The interior of ARRO
The small but pleasant patio of ARRO

The name ARRO comes from a French phrase that means "Make a toast to life!" and although the restaurant is sleek and beautifully designed, the menu and atmosphere are relaxed and a bit playful. Says Chef Andrew Curren, "ARRO is a culmination of friends, family, and people coming together to execute and enjoy a fresh interpretation of French food and culture."

Prince Edward Isle mussels with grilled tomatoes, leeks and sweet peppers, topped with Frites

The wine list is exclusively French, and the menu is almost entirely classic French dishes like croque monsieur, lobster bisque, steak frites, and vol-au-vent. I was fortunate enough to be invited to their soft opening Tuesday evening, where friends and family and a few journalists were asked to partake and provide feedback. If this soft opening/training night is any indication, ARRO is likely to be a fixture Downtown for years to come.

Grouper in sorrel sauce with eggplants and squash

The dishes that aren't French, such as the grilled antelope with figs, cherries, and braised endive, are approached from a definite French culinary perspective.

Walnut Napoleon with walnut pastry cream, coffee Anglaise, candied walnuts and figs

The restaurant interior was designed by Veronica Koltuniak of VeroKolt, and there is a great deal of natural light, giving the formerly dark and clubby space a marvelous airiness. The color palette is entirely neutral, giving the food and wine the opportunity to appear ablaze with color and interest.

Lemon goat cheese tart with finger chamomile sauce and toasted almonds

Pastry chef Mary Catherine Curren stopped by our table to discuss her aesthetic regarding ARRO's dessert offerings. "I want the diner to be able to get every flavor that is important in the dessert in each spoonful. Easily. Even without looking," Curren explained. If the desserts I tried are any indication, she has one of the deftest hands in the pastry arena we have here in Austin, and I would not be surprised if she begins to receive some national recognition.

Rosewater profiteroles with pistachio ice cream, raspberries and black pepper

When it comes to sincere feedback, the only thing this journalist has to say is, "Great job, I think the opening is going to go really, really well!"


601 West 6th St., 512/992-2776

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restaurant opening, Arro, Andrew Curren, Mary Catharine Curren, VeroKolt, ELM Restaurant Group

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