Arcane is DC's newest supper club, providing a "radical and esoteric approach to the art of cuisine." We were invited to experience Arcane's approach to Native American culture as we gathered for their soft launch event at the Capital Hill Towers. Soft red and orange lighting helped transform the intimate space as we gathered with 20-30 others eager to find out what the preeminent avant-garde supper club had in store.
Each of Arcane's events features a signature drink aka "a mysterious concoction." Unfortunately I did not uncover the secret ingredients of this drink. Sorry.
You know you're going to have a good night when the first think you are served is poutine, made with duck fat fries, rosemary demi, farmers cheese, and smoked buffalo brisket. Thinks only got better from here, as I was also able to taste lobster salad made with maine lobster, fennel apple slaw, and ginger dressing. The wild elk slider, made of house ground elk, vermont cheddar, wild onion relish, wilted spinach, and grain mustard, was a definite favorite of mine.
Lobster wasn't the only available seafood that evening, as we were also able to enjoy a lovely Smoked Salmon Cake topped with pickled chayote and piquillo pepper mayo.
In addition to an endless supply of fig and pomegranate, and apple and fennel sangria that were both available at the bar all night, several more cocktails were continually passed around the room. The Red Hooch, made of 190* corn, cranberries, soda water, and spearmint, and the Hard Apple Cider, made of apple brandy, organic cider, hard spices, and apples, were my favorite drinks of the evening. A Mustang, made of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey, ginger beer, wild ginger nectar, and sugar cane, was also served.
The Native "Chicken and Waffles" could have been classified as a dessert. Though cranberry syrup on the waffles will naturally make the dish sweeter, the fried maple brined turkey topping the wild rice waffle added additional sweetness to the dish without being overpowering. Brussel salad balanced out the plate.
The Maple Popcorn Balls were one of two desserts served that night. Caramel popcorn is the section of the popcorn tins I always skipped over during Christmas, but this bite of heirloom popping corn, pumpkin seed, and maple caramel, was on a whole other level. After one bite, my popcorn ball separated into multiple pieces, and this only made the ball that much more fun to eat.
Arcane definitely knows how to send things off on a good note, as the last flavors I was able to enjoy were the tastes of deep fries sweet potato, cinnamon and sugar, and tree honey. If I had the opportunity, I would probably eat two dozen of these.
The most talked about dish of the night was the "Uptown" Navajo Frybread, topped with muschovy duck confit and pumpkin jam. I somehow missed the passing of this dish, and did not try it, but I know it had to be delicious if it was just on the same level as everything else served that evening.
If the Indian Summer was able to pull off such a great event for a soft launch, amazing these are in store for their official launch. Make sure to follow Arcane on Twitter and Facebook for all the details.