Thursday, May 1, 2008

culinary adventures at the Arches

A friend of ours who must be nostalgic for her 6 year old's babyhood offered to watch Alex so Terry and I could go out. We jumped at the offer before she could change her mind, and decided to go to The Arches, a fancy restaurant recommended by several people.

When we got there we were offered either going straight to the table or reading the menu and having a drink in a small lounge area. The house red wine was by far the best Maltese red I have had, although it was too fruity to legitimately be called a Cabernet Sauvignon; however, that was apparently the grape used. We had heard rave reviews of the Chateaubriand, so went with that, and shared a duck starter.

We first received an amuse bouche (small taste complimentary of the chef). Although we missed hearing what it was, the shot sized glass of soup was clearly a curried cauliflower with a rich chicken base. Yum! The duck was one of the best I have ever had. Flavorful, juicy, just the right amount of crispy fat still attached to each sliver. They somehow managed to slice the Chateaubriand so I had the rarer pieces and Terry had the more medium pieces, which is exactly how we like it. The end piece I had was overcooked even for medium, though. I also realized that I prefer cuts with more fat - and therefore more flavor - to them. It was an incredibly high quality cut of meat, but there is only so much you can do to a plain piece of meat with no fat and no seasonings.

Too full for dessert, we opted for cappuccinos. They were truly perfect and a nice way to end the meal. Folks just arriving from the USA will love this place - the service is incredibly attentive and courses arrive practically on top of each other. Anyone who has gotten used to the languid rhythm of European meals might find it a bit rushed. I think we ran 2 hours from walking in the door to paying the check.

All in all, I would definitely return, but get the duck main course and maybe the Kobe beef starter.

We have also been cooking more lately, and making some of Alex's baby food. More on those adventures another night.