About a year ago, I had the opportunity to go to renowned chef Michael Mina's restaurant (named after him) in Las Vegas. I had such an enjoyable experience that when I moved to San Jose and heard that he had a restaurant here called Arcadia, I just knew I had to check it out. Arcadia is located on the first floor in the beautiful Marriott Hotel in downtown San Jose.
First impressions are important, and I felt things got off to a rocky start when I was making reservations over the phone. Although the woman on the other end was very helpful, when I asked her about the menu she butchered many of the words. I find it questionable when the hostess at an upscale restaurant can't pronounce words such as "foie gras", "creme fraiche", and "pinot noir".
Two weeks later my dining partner and I got to Arcadia. Upon walking in, I immediately noticed that the restaurant is very spacious. The tables are spread out, meaning that you don't have to hear the conversations at the other tables, or bump into other people's chairs as you get up to use the restroom. This is in stark contrast to the claustrophobic, cramped feeling I had at the Buca Di Beppo Italian restaurant in San Francisco a week later.
The decor is very tasteful, what one would expect in an establishment like Arcadia. It's modern but not in a cold, unfriendly manner. My dining companion and I were seated at a table across from what seemed to be the bar, though no one was sitting there at the time. In fact, there were no chairs or stools in front of it. Instead, a row of wine bottles lined the bar. I presume that area is used during lunch, when the restaurant takes on a more casual atmosphere. We had requested window seating; alas, those tables were already reserved, which is something to keep in mind when making reservations.
Since I had been to Michael Mina, I already knew what to order. Granted, I could have tried something different from the Arcadia menu, but I wanted to compare the two restaurants. We ordered the foie gras and Maine Lobster Pot Pie. However, my dining companion and I did choose a second appetizer. I read in a local magazine that Arcadia was famous for its lobster corn dogs, so we ordered that as well.
As you can see in the photo, the lobster corn dogs are cute and tiny, and sit on little dollops of whole grain mustard sauce. Although they didn't taste bad, they didn't wow me, either. They were light and crispy, but just didn't taste "lobstery" enough. It tasted like processed lobster rather than fresh lobster. Considering that this is a Michael Mina restaurant, I hope that I'm wrong.