Midtown can celebrate the opening of an American style grill, Arthur’s, at 12 St. Clair Avenue East, by the Chase Hospitality Group.
Pull up to the valet on St.Clair, at $15 a car, but what choice do you have, unless you want to walk a couple of blocks to public parking. Then you go up a flight of stairs, where there is confusion as to what door do you enter. There is no visible sign, which is quite odd.
The dining room and cocktail lounge are very attractive, seating 156 guests between the two rooms, with dark interiors, and lots of leather. It oozes money. Large picture windows that unfortunately look out onto a McDonalds. We settle in to check out our “American” inspired menu. It looks awfully familiar, and then it hits me, it is very similar to the menu at the Surf Club in Miami by Thomas Keller. With classic dishes from the past, some things offered are identical to that iconic restaurant. From the Dover sole, to the Caesar salad prepared tableside, oysters Rockefeller, or their avocado and shrimp, a similar replica of the stunning shrimp and vegetable presentation in Miami. Even some of the sides echo the menu in Miami. But you can’t compare the two when it comes to the food or service. Thomas Keller has many Michelin stars under his belt, and his menu, his technique and his meticulous standards are hard to duplicate. At the Surf Club they source their meats and produce from the best farms in the United States. The menu draws its inspiration from the golden olden days.
Arthur’s also offers American classics like crab Louie, steak tartar, oysters Rockefeller, Dover Sole, veal chop, prime rib and steak. Where they differ is offering a matzo ball soup, that was actually decent, made with homemade stock. You can get a cheeseburger or pastrami and rye here. Steven Salm the president of the company obviously wanted to add some classics from his family. Even the restaurant is named after his father Arthur. There are also a couple of plant-based items, some salads, a mushroom pâté and a vegan lasagna. Here the veal chop is done Milanese style. Pounded thin, breaded and topped with radicchio and tomatoes, not the usual arugula. I found the chicken paillard to be an odd rendition. I ordered it, thinking I was getting a healthy grilled version, but instead it came dripping in a white wine, butter and Dijon sauce. I’m not saying it wasn’t agreeable, just not what I would have wanted. Although it is a bit pricey, it is nowhere near the exorbitant price point of Thomas Keller’s restaurant.
I wish they offered a better selection of wines by the glass. But they made a decent martini with a huge selections of gins and vodkas.
Desserts were a pleasant surprise. A moist decadent chocolate cake drizzled with a chocolate ganache and some chantilly cream, as well as a caramelized New York style cheesecake with passion fruit sauce. They also serve a cherries jubilee, which I haven’t seen on a menu since I was a young girl. There is also rice pudding and a baba au rhum. A blast from the past on their throwback menu.
They have already established this new spot as a see and be seen place. Later this year a 60 seat rooftop terrace will open.