Arvi shook up the local scene with some trendy recent ideas from afar. You don’t make a reservation to get in here—you purchase a ticket (a system Grant Achatz popularized years ago at Next in Chicago). And once seated inside this spare industrial space with sleek modern furnishings, you’ll find that your five course-tasting menu (omnivorous or vegetarian) will be served and explained by the very same staff who worked on preparing it in the kitchen (as was popularized a decade back by Noma, and innumerable lesser restaurants since). And all of that works well here: the experience feels fresh, and the vibe edgily contemporary. The energetic stage of the expansive open kitchen contributes considerably to the fun, casual atmosphere. But in the end it all comes down to the smart and inventive cooking of Chef Julien Masia—always ably explained by his multi-tasking kitchen brigade. Plates are colourful and prettily executed. Flavours are fresh, clean and unmuddled. There is a satisfying inventiveness in play in the flavour combinations—roast veal with cheddar sauce, quail eggs in dashi—but the results are invariably complementary, never jarring. When the ingredients call for it, contemporary simplicity rules (say, pan-roasted black maitake with hazelnuts and brown butter). Drop by and enjoy the show.
Photos: COURTESY OF ARVI