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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A dish for all seasons

Posted By on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 6:13 PM

The Pantrys Stock Pot
  • The Pantry's Stock Pot
I get the question all the time: “What’s your favorite restaurant in Little Rock?” My knee-jerk reaction is to go with The Pantry. There are a variety of factors that lead me to such a conclusion, including: atmosphere, service, value, consistency, and of course, top-notch food. And although I enjoy just about everything on the menu, nothing trumps the Stock Pot.

The dish’s centerpiece is a substantial portion of white fish. The menu states “cod,” but I know the dish changes with available fish and produce. I’ve actually had it with some wonderful sea bass. The fish is swimming in a perfectly seasoned broth and usually married together with tender carrots, fennel, garlic, and meaty shiitake mushrooms. A little chopped, flat parsley is tossed on top to tie the entire dish together into one aesthetically pleasing package.

And while the looks could kill, the taste is even better. Be forewarned, the temptation to dive hastily into the Stock Pot will exist. It’s important to savor each bite, making sure to get a little bit of every component onto the spoon. You’ll find the warm, savory, sometimes lemony broth pairs well with the fish and hearty vegetables.

Some may view the Stock Pot, which could be just as aptly named a Fish Stew, as solely a cold weather dish. It certainly falls within that nourishing “comfort food” category, but I wouldn’t hesitate to order it during the warmer Arkansas months, when most diners are looking for lighter menu options. The delicate white fish and light broth make this dish an excellent year-round option.

In a city filled with great restaurants, The Pantry is at the top of my Little Rock list. I always recommend it to those looking for a failsafe lunch or dinner spot.

The Stock Pot ($14.50) is only served during the restaurant’s dinner service. The Pantry is located at 11401 Rodney Parham, Little Rock. Hours: Mon-Fri 11-4pm (Lunch), Mon-Sat 4-midnight (Dinner). Closed Sunday.

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