To be clear: Arbor is a weird restaurant. It’s in an office building, on the second floor, and accessible only by an escalator. The cement-walled dining room has no windows to the outside, giving the place the distinct air of a Scandinavian minimalist’s idealized version of an institutional mess hall. Your server is likely to brag to you about the restaurant’s second-floor apiary, which produces the honey in your breakfast-time bowl of granola, or perhaps about the offbeat pickling technique the chef learned from his grandma to use on tonight’s shrimp.
To the right kind of diner, it’s all undeniably endearing, exactly the way owner Chad Little and chef/owner Leonard Hollander want it to be. Arbor’s nighttime menu, dubbed the “Midwestern omakase,” ambles about at its own pace, stopping for velvety sweetbreads glazed in vinegar here, and for risotto with a well-aged nutty Parmesan there. Weird, definitely. But good-weird.