What’s the vibe
The Chase Hospitality Group (The Chase, Kasa Moto, Planta) gets personal with its latest venture, drawing inspiration from president Steven Salm’s late father, Arthur, for its throwback food and decor. Designed by architecture firm gh3*, the 7,000 square-foot space at Yonge and St. Clair is divided into a stylish dining room and a more relaxed lounge area.
The octagon-shaped dining room (there’s not a bad seat in the house) is dominated by a diamond-patterned wood panel ceiling, designed to evoke the base of a crystal cocktail glass; while the cozy adjacent lounge is decorated with photographs, newspaper clippings and other artifacts from Arthur Salm’s life. The upscale, mid-century aesthetic makes the space feel fancy enough for special occasions, yet still approachable enough for casual dinners and drinks.
What to drink
Cocktails are the focus of the drinks programme at Arthur’s, with 26 options grouped into signature martinis, classics and Arthur’s original cocktails. The martini and classic cocktail menus include descriptions on the origins of each drink, with most recipes tied to turn-of-the-20th-century cocktail culture.
For example, the Corpse Reviver (a mix of beefeater gin, lillet blanc, cointreau, lemon and absinthe mist) was originally part of a family of cocktails intended to be drank as hangover remedies – although this concoction seems more likely to cause hangovers than cure them.
The Arthur’s Originals are more playful, featuring creative ingredients like cacao nib and coffee infused bourbon or, in the case of the Upper East Side, tableside preparation with smoke. There’s also a brief menu of non-alcoholic cocktails.
What to eat
The menu takes a cue from classic American restaurants, updating time-honoured dishes like matzo ball soup and lobster thermidor. Like the Chase’s other restaurants, one-quarter of the dishes at Arthur’s are plant-based, which means the steak tartare and veal chop are balanced by veggie-friendly options like mushroom pate and lasagne with almond béchamel.
The shrimp and avocado salad, a creamy avocado stacked with Fogo Island shrimp, cucumber, celery and chives is impossible to eat without toppling over the pretty presentation (but well worth the destruction). If you want to add some theatrics to your meal, the Caesar salad and dover sole are both prepared and served tableside. The New York cheesecake is a must-try for dessert – whether or not you’re typically a cheesecake person, the fluffy cake topped with caramel and passionfruit is sure to make you a convert.
Dinner and drinks for two: about $150
12 St Clair Ave E, 647-348-7000; arthursrestaurant.ca