ARC is the former Herons Restaurant at the Fairmont Waterfront, situated directly across from the Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre. After having read the reviews on Herons on this site I was somewhat hesitant to try out ARC, as I noticed the Executive Chef was still the same. However the few reviews I could locate online were quite favourable.
We were seated promptly for our 7PM reservation. The restaurant is located on the main floor (lobby level) of the hotel, so while the windows are floor to ceiling & provides seating on two levels, the view is primarily that of the street and convention centre, with only limited views of the mountains. We were however seated with that view. If the view is important, another venue might be a better choice.
Wines by the glass were steep, in the $15 range for a 6 oz serving. We tried the Blasted Church Pinot Gris and it was well received. Appys were in the $10 - 17 dollar range, with entrees starting at $24 for a pasta reaching $38 for the Rack of Lamb. Desserts were the most reasonable, most under $10, with their own ice cream at $6.
We started off by sharing an order of Foraged Mushroom Toast on rosemary bread ($10). In light of the modest price, the serving was adequate for two & quite tasty. For our entrees, I ordered the Glazed Duck Breast ($32) and my wife the Roast Rack of Yakima Valley Lamb ($38).
My duck was disappointing. It could not be described as dry, but I found it if not tough, somewhat rubbery, with very little taste. It came with a ancient grain. which I took an immediate dislike to. The vegetables however were delicious.
The rack of lamb was quite small, only two racks, but prepared medium rare as ordered. It had a good portion of mashed potatoes, mushrooms and peas. My wife enjoyed the dish.
My duck was replaced without question by their Cavatelli Pasta, which was served in a heavy cream sauce which contained mushrooms & peas (a theme on their menu and they have a roof garden). The pasta had a somewhat chewy texture like Gnocchi. Overall it was wonderful.
Dessert was their Maple Hazelnut ice cream, a large portion which two could easily share. Not sure if as a result of it being our anniversary or due to my duck, but they brought me a Bag of Doughnuts which came with three sauces. Tasted just like PNE. An innovative and welcome end to the evening. We were both pleasantly full.
The staff and manager were all very pleasant, attentive and eager to please. Overall it was a very pleasant evening spent in a nice location in the heart of the city.