I finally got around to going this weekend with my parents – I thought it was pretty excellent.
I'd give the atmosphere and staff high marks. We ate outside, so it was significantly quieter than the dining room... I'd avoid the latter if you don't like the busy/noisy vibe. I enjoy it – we just sat outside because it was the quicker seating option. Our server was attentive and knowledgeable, but not overbearingly so in either aspect. Nice guy.
For an appetizer, we got the charcuterie board, which came with three kinds of bread, regular and pecan butters, chicken liver mousse, duck rillette, pear preserves and a French cheese... I forget the name, but it was similar in taste, color and texture to manchego. Everything was delicious, particularly the mousse and rillette. Regarding the earlier remark about being dubious of the bread... Easy Tiger really does bake some damn fine stuff.
Entree wise, I got the moules frites. Fantastic, fennel-heavy broth, perfectly cooked mussels, good frites. My dad got the steak frites, which came sliced; it was perfectly cooked medium rare, with an impressive, very tasty char on the outside. Simple but quite good. My mom got the salad nicoise, one of my all time favorite French menu items, and it didn't disappoint. Perfectly cooked tuna, excellent vinaigrette, and the typically hard-boiled egg instead cooked to the point of a having soft, nearly runny yolk. I haven't had a lot of memorable nicoise salads in Austin (Blue Dahlia is the only really good one that comes to mind), so Arro's probably takes the top spot on my list.
Dessert was a panna cotta that was tasty, but I don't remember much about it. Maybe that's telling, but I'll also add that I'm not a huge dessert guy.
Overall I'd highly recommend this place for anyone who's into fairly classic brasserie fare. I'll definitely be going back.
Ok..you asked and it is only my view of things...do take it for what it is worth
I find it a bit pretentous to charge for bread...it better be pretty awesome bread to charge for it and it was just well bread..kind of like the HEB artisan collection. I was hoping to see some rabbit on the menu instead of French sandwiches but was pleased to see duck confit and frogs legs. The frogs legs were rather disapointing ,very bland the confit was ok but lacked the richness I have come to expect. Dessert was completely skippable The service was pleasant enough but didnt seem very knowlegable( could be due to newness)
I prefer Chez Nous for the food. Arro seems to have a better "scene" although the food is not bad. Service was great, and the place was busy on a Friday night.
The seafood options on the pre fixe dinner menu were huge. The bread platter IMO was not worth the money (bread comes from Easy Tiger).
I went with 2 friends right after it opened, and we really enjoyed it. We were mostly focused on catching up, but I do remember some standouts: grilled asparagus with a perfectly fried egg atop, really nice duck confit (haven't found this classic prep elsewhere in town) served with a handful of greens, fresh fruit, and nuts. A little bowl of simple French lentils was dynamite. I was really happy with the server's wine suggestion; in fact, the service was excellent throughout.
Huge bonus was that it was quiet enough to converse, without feeling stuffy. (Went to No Va last week and quite liked our food but can't imagine returning unless they address acoustics. The server couldn't even hear us, and forget about having a good conversation over dinner.) Actually, not sure why I haven't been back to Arro yet. Will look forward to your reports!
Thanks for the info! Just as an FYI, La Traviata has duck confit. Haven't tried it in a while, but they've been doing it for a long time. Whole Foods downtown used to have a prepared version in their refrigerated section consisting of two leg quarters. It was pretty good, but I'm not sure if they still have it.