In Full Blöm

Jamie Gwen | October 30, 2016 | Feature Features

The power couple behind Arc's new sister spot, Restaurant Marin, has once again demonstrated industry savvy and a knack for blazing new trails in the local dining scene.
Everything including the chicken potpie, is cooked with a live fire.

The von Blöms are up to it again— something really great. Restaurant Marin is the latest venture from the husband-­and-­wife team that is chef Noah von Blöm and Marin Howarth von Blöm, two talented dreamers who have a taste for the business and are always on the cutting edge. Their beloved Arc restaurant shines next door, and this new petite space is an elegant twist on comfort food in high style.

The power couple introduced the concept at SoCo in March, and the quaint, intimate establishment is bustling at all hours. From the parking lot, you'll see a minimalist sign, and you'll be drawn to the charming patio. Take a few steps in, and you'll understand the meaning of petite—just five tables inside (four are found on the patio). The antiqued mirrored wall tiles, vintage windows and French-­inspired lighting lend a fancy bistro ambience, but modern touches add flair, and the space is so inviting. Restaurant Marin is voguish and posh, refined yet casual, and a true representation of the feminine influence that Marin herself brings to the table. In classic Noah style, the chef cooks with a live-­fire wood oven. There are no gas or electrical appliances, and all of the dishes are reminiscent of the sweet smoke and succulence that only flames can imbue. And there's something really special about the all-­day dining menu—breakfast is always available!

No matter the time of your arrival, Restaurant Marin is committed to hospitality and fabulous food. Your reservation will guarantee you a spot, and when you settle in, order a Fizz (vodka, lavender and lemon) or a Smash (gin, dill and cucumber) and toast the fact that you scored a table. Cocktails, wine and beer are served from the bar at Arc next door through a secret window (so cool), and the list is minimal but wonderfully approachable. And the glassware is gorgeous, by the way.

Peruse the menu, and you'll find delectable offerings for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The morning buns are the chef's take on a cinnamon roll, and they are luscious. (Only a few individual-­portion pans are made every day, so be sure to snap one up if they're still available upon your visit.) The breakfast sandwich is a true culinary delight—a freshly baked crumpet, with cheddar, bacon and a perfect fried egg. (Oh, yes!)

But the true standout is the plate of blueberry pancakes—souffle-­like pillows of ethereal goodness, made with egg whites for fluffiness and two kinds of blueberries. They're served with a glimmer of maple syrup, toasted almonds and freshly whipped unsweetened cream, and they are divine. That alone is worth a stop at the eatery— though you wouldn't want to miss the plethora of other succulent dishes.

The fried chicken is delicious—buttermilk-­brined and crusted in breadcrumbs for a delicate texture and served enrobed in sausage gravy. The wild mushrooms, offered as a starter, are scrumptious, with their wood-fired flavor, goat cheese and Parmesan brood. And the classic French onion soup, made with 12 hours of painstaking love, has an extraordinary depth of flavor. The tacos—with their handmade tortillas that are crisp yet still tender to the bite—are prepared with your choice of a short rib, duck or mushroom filling. And the chicken potpie is a definite fan favorite—rustic and rich. And be sure to order the sour cream and onion dip, if only for the crazy­good potato chips that accompany it.

As if you weren't already full, dessert is a smorgasbord of cakes and pies (all cooked with wood fire) that highlight the best of the season's fresh fruit or are guaranteed to satisfy your chocolate craving. And then there are the doughnut holes, baked in a cast­-iron pan in the wood oven and rolled in a generous helping of cinnamon and sugar—seriously incredible.

Restaurant Marin is an on-­trend California-­style diner with sophistication and poise. With a gifted chef at the helm and Marin's design instincts and hospitable style to bring it all together, this is one powerful duo. Watch for more new ventures on the horizon. In the meantime, get in your car and go have pancakes!


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