L’Arcane is a very small place with one side of the restaurant having floor to ceiling windows looking onto the street. The wood tables are well spaced and topped with placemats and nice linen napkins. Soft music as well as comfortable seating give it a cozy atmosphere, but the lighting was on the verge of being too brite. The noise level only rose marginally when the restaurant filled. The menu is a surprise tasting only but you can choose whether you want 3, 4 or 5 courses, with reasonable portion control. We chose the 5 course. They do offer wine pairings and I noticed a line on the house glasses that I wondered if that was for fill level or decorative. With a surprise tasting it is really difficult to select your own wine which a good sommelier can help with but that service didn’t seem to be available.
Service was friendly but pacing was slow and did not anticipate your needs, sometimes even forgetting to bring what you asked for. The food was really tasty and beautiful but the service component will need to be brought to the same level if they hope for Michelin recognition. Before the tasting begins they bring a box of bread, the baguettes are crispy with a great chew but the sliced bread was dry and had no crisp to the edge. It was a tasty butter.
An amuse from the kitchen was salmon, cream, balsamic vinegar, lemon curd and salmon roe dish. The roe was mildly flavored while the cream, dill and lemon made a perfect accompaniment for the fish. A very good plate.
A fried langoustine was plated with langoustine wrapped with leek, tofu, sesame, capers and curry. The fried langoustine was sweet, delicious and lightly crispy. All the other ingredients/sauces mixed well together to produce a number of fun flavor combinations.
Squid was served gremolata style with parsley, lemon, garlic, onion and egg. It reminded me of a carbonara made with cutttlefish ribbons. The crispy pastry roll was stuffed with langoustine, nuts, orange and almond and had a hint of spiciness. The fun dish was very flavorful.
Sea bass from Corsica was a served on a Beurre Monté sauce (emulsified butter) dotted with a sauce of ail des ours (ramsons or Allium ursinum) and plated with white asparagus and a white garlic sauce. The fish was cooked perfectly and accented with small crunchy croutons. The asparagus had a lovely taste and had then stems peeled for perfect tenderness. It was a rich and wonderful plate of food.
Rabbit from western France was served with prosciutto, pear, pea shoots and baby carrots. The rabbit was firm but the sauce’s great flavor made up for any toughness. The pear in the dish was a standout. This dish offered lots of flavors.
Frozen avocado with anise and pineapple served as a transition dish. The pineapple was nicely flavored and not overly sweet. The dish was perfectly refreshing.
Dessert was kiwi cream brûlée with a floating island of meringue and cream on top of granola like cookies. There was a transparent crisp layer of sugar that gave the dish a bit more texture. I think I would have preferred a butter cookie rather than granola but overall this was a fine sweet fix.
Extra treats included buttery shortbread with yuzu (great), lemon custard in a soft shell (yuk) and chocolate and nuts on cake (nice).