Last week, I had plans to meet spunky friend and Austin Post editoress, Karie, and her out-of-town visitor at the original Kerbey Lane Cafe to show her a truly Austin spot. However, when they arrived at the restaurant, it was packed and the host was nowhere to be found to put our name on a list. Karie remembered that a new Argentinian restaurant, El Arbol, had opened across the street on 35th. We were up for an adventure, and what an experience we had at what I am proud to call: my new favorite favorite wining and dining spot in Austin, El Arbol.
When the name El Arbol (meaning, ‘the tree’ in Spanish) was mentioned to me, I won’t deny that I thought to myself, “Alright, another Tex-Mex spot. But, I’ll give it a shot.” My preconceived notions could not have been more off. We walked in, glanced at the menu, and asked for a table, at which time I learned that El Arbol had only been open for about a month. We went upstairs through the Argentinian-inspired interior to a dining room adjacent to a room with the bar and an outdoor patio that looks fabulous for Spring galavanting! The space was sleek, classy and classic, with vinyl/leather rounded booths mixed with modest square tables, one of which we sat at, that invited us with the uniquely shaped and generously-sized wine glasses perfectly set at each place setting. As I took in the ambiance, I said out loud, “It’s like another Belmont, but centrally located.” Come to find out later, when manager, Russell Rich, not only stops by to say hello, but sits down with us at dinner! to tell us about El Arbol and the heart and soul that has gone into it, that Joel Mozersky was the artist who designed the space, and his previous projects include both The Belmont and The Highball— the resemblence was apparent and appreciated.
I was impressed with our tasty meal of crostini served with cilantro and garlic spreads that comes to every table, very refreshing white fish ceviche with Peruvian peppers, fresh and savory Ensalada de Tomate that was beautifully plated on a flat, white rectangular dish, a complimentary (thank you, Russell!) very, very decadent dessert that he described as a “deconstructed s’more”. Upon meeting Owner Andrew Sorrell, we cleansed our palates and ended our meal on a perfect note with a handcrafted cocktail- a Ramos Gin Fizz, with orange flower water, vanilla extract, lime juice, sugar, cream, and egg whites (again, thank you, Russell!). (See photos below!)
The service was of highest, yet friendly and approachable quality. The management was extremely friendly, and made us feel like a part of the El Arbol family. I have been gushing about my experience ever since my visit, and couldn’t wait to share this gem with you that takes you out of downtown and into an Argentinian escapade! Discovering this dining destination was a gift that kept on giving! I cannot wait to return.
Go there— you will love it. El Arbol is located at 3411 Glenview, right off 35th Street between Mo-Pac and Lamar on the southern side of the street.