Hadn't been to White Water Tavern since the '70s? You're about to be pulled back even if you don't care anything about, say, True Soul Revue. Because Nick Castleberry, the hot shot young chef back in Little Rock after 15 years of cooking in Seattle, seems primed to make the Tavern just as much of a destination for food as it is for music (and cheap drinks).
I got dinner there last night and hot damn that dude can cook. The highlight? A fried macaroni and cheese patty. Less patty than golden ball of deep fried deliciousness, it wasn't so rich and greasy that, as an app, it ruined our main course, but rich and greasy enough that I'm sure the kitchen will sell the hell out of 'em once the concert crowd starts getting into its cups. A braised pork wrap followed that was nearly as good: thinly sliced, heavily spiced pork topped with fresh cilantro, lettuce, diced heirloom tomatoes and a slightly sweet chimichuri. The wrap came with chips, a pickle and a cold basil pasta salad on the side that was heavenly. For dessert: crepes (crepes at White Water!), dark chocolate-filled thin pancakes topped with heavy cream.
I left my menu at home, so I don't have prices handy, but I got an appetizer, two wraps and dessert in the restaurant and took essentially the same order home to my wife, and the bill was $45. So it's all really affordable.
Castleberry, who as we told you earlier in the week is a one-man show, is still working out his hours. Last I heard, dinner was likely to happen tonight, but not confirmed.
UPDATE: The kitchen is indeed open tonight.