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Travel Costa Mesa Blog

Arc Restaurant Review: Food & Libations in Costa Mesa

Posted on February 12, 2013 | 4:57pm | Travel Costa Mesa

As the newest restaurant at the OC Mix in the SoCo Collection in Costa Mesa, Arc Restaurant serves contemporary American dishes from a wood-burning oven.  With the straightforward idea of “Food & Libations,” Arc produces mouth-watering contemporary American fare and cocktails made from their “scratch” bar.  There are also several unique craft beers to choose from.

Arc Restaurant

The décor inside Arc is simple and clean with wood, dark colors and cast-iron motifs throughout with seating in booths and at the large bar. The centerpiece, of course, is the wood-burning oven.

Arc Owner/Chef Noah Blom

We were able to see Owner and Executive Chef (and according the Arc’s website, “vagabond fire king”) Noah Blom in action.  While he worked tirelessly pulling the sizzling cast-iron skillets in and out of the oven, we enjoyed our first course of the beet salad. Topped with goat cheese and chervil, the beets and cheese complemented each other perfectly and made for an ideal appetizer for sharing.

Arc Beets

A trip to Arc without a few libations just wouldn’t be right, so the (lunchtime) cocktail of choice was the grappa sour.  A drink, our bartender said, that was quickly becoming Arc’s most popular choice.  With a combination of grappa, citrus and egg whites, topped with a bit of meringue, the grappa sour is a unique cocktail with a pleasant consistency and mild aftertaste – but not that sour.  With a variety of craft beers to choose from (at a reasonable $6 each), we also tried the Hop Notch IPA from Unita Brewing Co.

Arc Bar

The next dish to come out was the meatballs and toast.  The meatballs were so tender that they melted in your mouth.   One of the best meatballs ever?  One in our group made that declaration!  We felt the Hop Notch was the perfect beer to be drinking with the meatballs as it was a nice addition to the flavors.

Arc Meatballs

After the meatballs we had the dip made from ricotta, tomato, pepper and a mole sauce. We dove right in, using the toast as a spoon.  With a several hearty scoops with the toast, and some straight off the spoon, the dip was gone. A delicious danger of eating at Arc is that nearly every dish comes out in a cast-iron pan that could be 500 degrees or hotter. After a couple of yelps adjusting our dishes, we learned the valuable lesson – DON’T TOUCH the pan! (Yes, we’re a little slow.) After chatting with the lovely hostess and seeing tiny burns on her hands, we suggested she get some gloves used for glass blowing to handle the piping-hot pans. We’ll check in again to see if she took us up on that…

Arc Dip

While we devoured the dip, a bowl of onion and cheese soup was served. The sweet onions and thick layer of cheese could have been a full meal in itself. A take on French onion soup, it was a milder version that we felt could have used a slightly more tangy cheese.

Arc Soup

The last dish was, simply put, amazing.  The duck, prepared with lemon, jam and honey and served with blackened brussel sprouts is good enough to tempt the dining habits of even the staunchest vegetarian.  The only regret about the duck was that by the time we decided to order it, we were so full that we were about to burst at the seams!  The duck was so tender it was almost like eating short rib, with the rich flavor that only duck fat can provide. The grilled lemon squeezed on it was perfect. The brussel sprouts were buttery and cooked well, still crisp with a hint of crispy char on the outside.

Arc Duck

By the end of our meal, we were a bit buzzed, very full and had the scent of camp-fiery smokiness emanating from our clothes (a hazard of sitting at the bar close to the wood oven).

We’re pleased to welcome Arc to the Costa Mesa community. Chef Noah Blom has a unique and exciting take on food that is such a complement to the cuisine of our city. We’re looking forward to going back soon!