Bastille day, le quatorze juillet, la fête nationale. You know, French independence day? Like the 4th of July in the US, it’s a day of revelry covered in red, white, and blue with fireworks and banners abound. Only more wine than beer. And Les Bals des Pompiers. Roughly translated to  firemen balls. Just look it up.

July 14th was definitely a while ago. Sorry friends, life happens. For me, it marked an anniversary of mixed emotions: it had officially been a year since I’d returned from France. In the spirit of reminiscing on baguettes and rosés of years past (and the year that was supposed to be my senior year … again, life) we had to seek out some place to celebrate.

And we landed at Arro, ELM’s interpretation of French cuisine. The beautifully light interior evokes the sunset on the Côte d’Azure. You might know this 6th street restaurant empire from their other 6th street mainstays: 24 Diner, Easy Tiger, and Italic (seriously, some Austin entrepreneur needs to make an ELM crawl already, they’re on the same freakin’ street). ELM’s third restaurant success is no surprise. Especially when they have direct access to the city’s best bakery.

Another entrepreneur PSA: there is a dearth of good bread in this city! As of right now Easy Tiger easily sources half of the bread served at Austin restaurants. And their waiting list is full. With 40 more restaurants to open this year, there’s a huge demand not being met. Just sayin’.

And for Bastille Day, Arro was running an incredible half price rosé special!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: when in doubt, order the cheese plate. This charcuterie and cheese selection sure did not disappoint. Maybe it was the ever-unmatched bread. The pork rillette in particular was stunning. Cured meats can be hard to get into sometimes. I’ve only just gotten to the point where I like (not love, but not hate) paté. Like oysters, experimental jazz, and muted yellow, it’s one of those things that just takes a little time. You might not become an expert, but you’ll at least learn to appreciate its intricacies and the art of the thing.

Oh, did I mention the bread?

But this one really stole the show. Calculus can be easy. French food can be hard. And beef tartare is one of the hardest. Again, it’s is on that list of things that you want to like it more than you actually do. But each time it’s worth the shot. Absolutely no regrets with this choice.

Raw food scares Americans. But in France, your eggs are forever raw and your meat is still kicking. And they seem to be doing okay. When prepared and paired the right way, beef tartare is an incredible mix of flavor and velvety texture. And boy does Arro get it right.

A light, cheap, quality meal is easily achieved at Arro’s happy hour with everything from beef tartare to a croque monsieur to frogs legs for $10.


arro – monday-friday 5-7

$10 bar snacks, $3 off wine by the glass, $2 kronenbourg, $4 aperitifs, $5 kir royale


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