Thursday, July 18, 2013

One happy hour at The Packet House

Posted By on Thu, Jul 18, 2013 at 8:09 PM


It’s undeniable that the people running The Packet House have done a magnificent job restoring and revitalizing the old 1869 home that resides along Cantrell Road. It’s a gorgeous structure inside and out. But although the place has been serving since September 2012, I’ve yet to find myself dining at one of their tables. Truth be told, I’ve heard some mixed reviews about the place. Some have nothing but high praise to offer, while others have noted that their meals have been rather uninspiring, especially considering the slightly high price tag. But recently, Packet “unveiled” their new happy hour menu and I saw this as a perfect opportunity to finally get a taste of what the place was serving up.

Drink specials at happy hour include discounts on house wine, beer and wells, as well as a $4 Old Fashion and $7 signature cocktail. This night Packet was featuring the "Garden Party," which consisted of Sauza Silver tequila, lightly mashed lemon, cucumber and sugar, finished with mezcal. Another of their signature cocktails included the "Drunken Flower," with elderflowers, Russian vodka, and pomegranate juice.

The menu started with a “sweet pea toast,” which consisted of a pea puree with mozzarella, topped with garlic, basil and truffle oil. All this rested on a slice of grilled sourdough. The dish was a great start to the evening. The mozzarella had a more crumbled texture than expected, and a generous amount came sitting on the spread of bright green pea. The cool smashed peas lent an earthy sweetness that gave the crostini a light, delightful freshness. The truffle was subtle but noticeable, and while I love the flavor of truffle, I was grateful it did not overwhelm the other more subtle aspects of the dish.

Their house fries came highly recommended by the spry, enthusiastic bartender. He described the dish as a “heap of fries,” and at $5 were “the best bargain on the menu.” Even with the man’s warning, I was still startled by the size of the mound of fried potato strings that were presented on that plate. This mini mountain of potatoes sat at least 6 inches high and came with a smear of chipotle aioli. The fries were quite impressive, and I’d easily put them up there with some of the best I’ve had in Little Rock. They’re prepared correctly, and the quality comes through in their flavor and texture. They utilize the “double-fry” technique. Here, the fries are quickly cooked in oil at a lower temperature, pulled out and drained, and then with each order called, they’re thrown back into hotter oil to finish. This creates a soft inner potato with a crispy, golden exterior. They’re rolled in a bit of black truffle oil and tarragon to finish. The accompanying aioli was a little on the sparse side, but it was equally flavorful. Blended with chipotle peppers, it had a deep, rich, smoky flavor reminiscent of bacon. I’d quickly order these if I find myself at Packet House again.

Stuffed mushrooms came next. Meaty crimini mushrooms stuffed with herbed goat cheese, topped with butter and a smooth, creamy white wine sauce. The goat cheese and white wine afforded a piquant, almost sweet note to the mushrooms. Often stuffed mushrooms tend to be a little watery, as their moisture tends to seep out of them as they bake. These were no exception. While the dish was enjoyable, I felt it could have used a bit more richness, fat, or salt to help counter the sharp cheese and subtle flavor of mushroom. It was my least favorite dish of the night.

The menu is rounded out by their house pimento spread with grilled toast and fried crawfish, neither of which did I sample. But at $5 a plate, the menu is a nice accompaniment to their happy hour drink specials. If anything, I felt more inclined to visit the place for dinner and plan on doing so in the near future.

The happy hour menu runs Monday thru Friday 4-6 pm. The Packet House is located at 1406 Cantrell Rd, Little Rock

Tags: , , ,


Speaking of...

Comments (23)

Showing 1-23 of 23

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-23 of 23

Add a comment

More by Daniel Walker

  • The Kraft Mac & Cheese Food Hack

    Recently, we held another food hack competition, taking another childhood classic, Kraft Mac & Cheese, and tried to turn it on its head, creating something entirely new and unique. Again, the results were pretty awesome. The rules were simple: Use a whole box of mac and cheese, both noodles and cheese powder, and turn it into any sinister monstrosity imaginable. We had a vote via the Eat Arkansas Facebook page to crown a winner. Here's what was submitted:
    • Jul 30, 2014
  • Food Feedback Friday: The "We need your vote!" edition know the drill with Food Feedback. Tell us what you're eating this week and what you thought about it. I love to hear all the suggestions and I'm frequently looking back through your recommendations to determine my next meal. So share away! Happy weekend, y'all.
    • Jul 25, 2014
  • Looking in on the new Le Pops, now in the Heights

    Le Pops is a wonderful addition to the Heights neighborhood. Laurie Harrison is incredibly dedicated to her product, she still works here 7 days a week and is constantly experimenting in the kitchen to develop new flavors. Check them out the next time you need a cool down.
    • Jul 24, 2014
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • In defense of Planned Parenthood and abortion rights

    An op-ed in today's New York Time by Katha Pollitt says what I've been struggling to say about the reaction to the attack on women's reproductive rights launched by means of the undercover videos made by anti-abortion activists.
    • Aug 5, 2015
  • Maddie's Place makes a believer out of a skeptic

    After a long hiatus, I return to Maddie's Place in Riverdale and find the food is a lot tastier than I remembered.
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • The Lemon Cakery is pure bliss

    In the eternal and often epic battle between "cake" and "pie," I normally come down on the pie side of things. The Lemon Cakery puts that rule to the test—deliciously.
    • Oct 1, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.
  • Arkansas archeologist does his job, is asked to leave

    Amid Department of Arkansas Heritage project.

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Most Recent Comments



© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation