There aren't many foods that we can claim as Arkansas inventions, but the fried pickle is one of my favorites. Originally popularized in Atkins, Arkansas by Bernell Austin at the Duchess Drive-in, the battered and fried treats have spread across the country to become a staple of bar and diner fare everywhere. And even though they haven't made Atkins brand pickles since 2002, there are still good fried pickles to be found in the state. Here's a selection of my personal favorites, and I hope you'll all share yours down there in the comments.
*Gus's Fried Chicken: The pickles at the newly opened Gus's franchise in the River Market are some of my favorite fried pickles in town.
Like the Atkins originals (apparently my research lead me astray), Gus's uses spears of crunchy dill pickles as opposed the more commonly found pickle chips. The spears are expertly breaded and fried, resulting in a juicy, tangy center coated with crisp seasoned breading. A delight with or without the ranch dressing served to the side, these pickles are a must-order for anyone headed to Little Rock's new chicken palace.
*Eat My Catfish: When it comes to fried food in general, you can't go wrong with Saline County catfish joint Eat My Catfish. Shrimp, fish, and chicken will all please the palate here, but it's the fried pickles that keep me coming back for more. Hamburger dill slices are dredged in a spicy batter and fried to a crisp. The result is a pickle chip that is crispy and soft all at once, with a higher breading-to-pickle ratio than the spears at Gus's. Throw in some of Eat My Catfish's excellent house-made ranch and you've got an appetizer that will leave you wanting more.
*The Tavern Sports Grill: Like your fried pickles with a side of every sport on television at any given time? If so, the Tavern Sports Grill in West Little Rock is for you. The Tavern has more televisions than a Best Buy and they are tuned to any number of sports. The beer is cold, the wings are good, and you can't miss their chip-style pickles, served hot and fresh with a side of spicy ranch. This is bar food done right, served in one of the few Promenade restaurants that doesn't take itself so seriously.
*Slim Chickens: Lastly, it was the fried pickles at Slim Chickens that helped change my mind about the place after an initial negative review. Unlike the soggy fried mushrooms I got on my first visit, the Slim's pickles proved to be top notch: crisp on the outside, soft in the middle, with a batter that clung lightly to each pickle but didn't overpower the flavor. I still don't think their chicken strips are anything to write home about (although they're tasty enough), but those pickles were fantastic — and there were a lot of them to boot.
There are plenty of places in Central Arkansas serving up pickles; Cotham's in Scott, Cock of the Walk in North Little Rock, and Homer's out on Roosevelt have all been recommended to me as places to go to get your pickle on. The fried pickle is the unsung hero of Arkansas cuisine, and it's one I celebrate any time I can. So get yourself into a pickle with me, and be sure to let me know what places I'm missing — I'll travel a fur piece to get at a deep-fried pickle.
Today is Mr. Dunderbak's soft opening, and this weekend marks the grand opening of the McCain Mall stalwart.
After retiring from the Air Force in 1973, Richard Davidson decided to open a restaurant in the style of the European sausage shops he'd frequented overseas. He named his shop after the German legend of Dunderbak the Butcher, who puts all the naughty boys and girls into the sausage machine — right up until the day that his wife puts Dunderbak in the sausage machine. If you make it out to Mr. Dunderbak's this weekend, the legend will be expounded in song, courtesy of a live polka band.
In it's first incarnation, Mr. Dunderbak's was well-loved for it's sausages, soft pretzels and cheese spreads. Davidson, 79, sold the restaurant in 1990, because he wanted to retire to Hot Springs Village and play golf. A decade later, the new owners closed shop, and everyone assumed that was the end of Mr. Dunderbak's. But in March 2009, North Little Rock native Scott Kauffman began a Facebook page for people who miss Mr. Dunderbak's. That page and its nearly 2,000 friends was the catalyst Davidson needed. His daughter, Laura Stanley, a UAMS researcher, begin to pressure him to reopen Mr. Dunderbak's.
But Stanley is vegetarian, so per her revisions, the new Mr. Dunderbak's, in addition to the cheese, pretzels and sausages for which it's known, will feature an astounding number of veggie and vegan options, including four veggie sausage sandwiches and an entire deli with all-veg sandwich "meat." Sausage buns will be custom-made by Little Rock's Silvek's European Bakery, with a gluten-free option from Dempsey Bakery.
Other additions will be a specialty coffee bar which will eventually offer wi-fi and a juice bar stocked with orangeade, limeade and lemonade. There'll be bottled beer, too.
Early on, there was a huge roadblock, when Davidson and his renovation plans met up with an unsavory contractor, who swindled over $30,000 and left little to show for it. The Attorney General's office has unsuccessfully tried to locate the contractor, and Davidson nearly second-guessed his plans. "It was very discouraging to lose that amount of money, but interest was increasing on Facebook, and my daughter was still interested," he said. Ultimately, his daughter plans to run Mr. Dunderbak's when she retires from UAMS, but that retirement is still years away.
I pity people who live their whole lives thinking of tomatoes as the pale disappointments so prevalent in the supermarket. Those blasphemous imposter fruits are generally picked unripe, treated with ethylene gas, and shipped from points unknown to land on your plate with all the taste and texture of a dog-chewed tennis ball. I'm sure we've all bought a few of those in the winter months, but with the happy days of June upon us, there's one thing that's never far from you in Arkansas: high-quality, ready-to-eat tomatoes -- the kind that you don't even need to apologize for when the juice drips off your chin. And unlike those bland clones in the mainstream grocery stores, our local growers have tomatoes as diverse in taste and appearance as apples, ranging in size from plump cherries to big boys as large as a grown man's fist and possessed of colors ranging from purple and green to golden orange.
I stopped in recently at Argenta Market to take a look at their recent tomato arrivals from Deepwoods Farm, an organic tomato farm in Bradley County owned and operated by the Terry Donnelly family. Folks down in Bradley County are justifiably proud of their tomatoes, and the vine-ripened specimens from Deepwoods are some of the finest I've seen anywhere. I love shopping at Argenta Market because the staff is very friendly and knowledgeable, and I was lucky enough to encounter Stephanie Hamling, who runs the blog Proactive Bridesmaid in addition to helping folks like me out with our produce needs. She recommended the Cherokee Purples, and since that happens to be my favorite tomato as well, I knew it was going to be a good trip. If the world of heirloom tomatoes is new to you, though, I'll give a few different kinds to look for after the jump.
EJ's has been in its current downtown location, on the corner of 6th and Center streets, for six years. But it feels rooted there, homey and comfortable, like it's been around for decades. There's a big bar with a healthy selection of beer on tap and always, a lunchtime crowd filling the tight tables. I've walked by and wondered about EJ's Eats and Drinks many times, so today a friend and I decided to stop. The menu is comprised of sandwiches, salads and burgers, but something about the friendliness of that bar seemed to suggest that we start with a deep fried appetizer. So we had the day's special, colby, cream cheese and poblano ragoons, served with a side of housemade ranch. Our ragoons arrived in about five minutes — a plate of six crispy orange fritters that looked like a crosses between potato logs and eggrolls. The wonton shell was perfectly fried — none of that grease-saturated business that turns us away from actual eggrolls — but our first bite leaked a creamy, rich concoction that was more akin to nacho topping than we anticipated. (The menu board hadn't mentioned the cream cheese bit, so we'd been thinking something more like poppers. And yeah, if that's what you're thinking, just don't.) The poblano is a mild, sweet chile, with no real kick to cut the heaviness. After an initial taste, we knew we couldn't handle this odd American take on Chinese-Mexican fusion, were it dripping with the thick, pungent, housemade ranch that came with. The ranch was pungent and well flavored, but the concoction was way too oozy and rich. We also knew that we would have enjoyed our ragoons much more with beer.
The lunch menu offers sandwiches, burgers, soups and salads. And the classic veggie sandwich, the only veggie sandwich, reads a bit like an afterthought, with a list of ingredients you might expect from a three-buck veggie sub at a popular chain restaurant. We ordered the jalapeno burger and, because I wasn't in the mood for soup and salad, the classic veggie sandwich. My friend expected to adore the burger. I didn't expect much at all from the classic veggie. We were both wrong.
The veggie sandwich was delicious, primarily because it tasted so fresh. There was lettuce, tomato, sprouts, mushrooms, salty black olives, chunky bell pepper, avocado and deli slices of provolone and mozzarella. I think it was the bun, a soft split-top hoagie, that truly made the sandwich, and the fact that the whole thing was well-doused with a tangy vinaigrette.
The burger was a little disappointing, though. It came on another standout, split-top bun, and the jalapenos and chipotle ensured loads of flavor, but the meat tasted rushed. The burger was dry, veering on the thoroughly-cooked side of medium, without any attention-grabbing seasoning. (It was also fairly grisly.)
Both plates were served with piles of EJ's famous homemade chips, which we loved — but we suggest working from the bottom up. We ordered the ranch chips and jalapeno chips, and quickly learned to avoid any chip with visible flavor powder. The chips themselves are fantastic — thin sliced, chewy in the middle, crispy on the edges. But the primary ingredient in all the flavors (which seem to be shaken on just before serving) must be salt. The top chips were so salty that we found them nearly inedible. But when we dug beneath the heap, we discovered the shiny, yummy specialty that will bring us back to EJ's.
EJ's hours are 10:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Mon. -Thurs., extended till 10 p.m. on Friday's. It's closed Saturdays and Sundays. Sandwiches and burgers run about $8.
University of Central Arkansas alum Zachariah McCannon teams up with a UCA anthropology prof Brian Campbell in a new documentary, about preserving and sharing seeds from heirloom vegetables. "Seed Swap" will premiere on the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) on Monday, May 7 at 9 p.m. The film follows Dr. Campbell as he organizes the inaugural Ozark seed swap in Mountain View, Arkansas. This is a film about conserving biodiversity at a community level. Over the two-year course of the film, that first seed swap breeds seven other seed swaps, shedding light not only into the importance of preservation, but into the self-sufficiency of Ozark Culture.
4Square is expanding its River Market presence to include on-demand all-vegetarian foods, in addition to the convenience store items its already been selling. The new deli counter is called Garden Square Cafe, and its menu includes veggie wraps, sandwiches, salads, smoothies and desserts. Garden Square Cafe will also serve breakfast items — a deviation from the 4Square menu. Some menu items of the two cafes will be the same, but there will also be some items only available at one or the other. Garden Square Cafe will also stock bottled drinks, cigarettes and some health and beauty items.
Rashmi Jain, owner of 4Square and Garden Square, said that they opened the cafe, despite having another cafe across the street, because the River Market draws a different crowd and more foot traffic.
Dizzy's isn't far from the old Fortress of Employment, and I've never had a bad experience there. Usually I can't get behind big, boxy restaurants, but Dizzy does a great job of summoning atmosphere...or maybe it's just that, growing up a mere skip from New Orleans, I'm a sucker for that purple, green and gold Mardi Gras color-scheme. I love the wine bottle bar chandeliers almost as much as I love the over-sized baubles dangling from the dining room ceiling, and it's always fun to see which of the (actually painted) masterwork replicas we can identify by name and artist. I also really appreciate that some pastas are available as half-orders.
So a friend and I stopped in for lunch yesterday, and as usual, nothing disappointed. First off, Dizzy makes everything to order, so bring your friends with nontraditional diets! Every pasta dish can go vegetarian and some can go vegan. (A gluten-free coworker also eats there frequently, although I doubt she's ordering pasta...)
We had the Grilled Buffalo Mozzarella sandwich and a half-order of The Tuxedo pasta, both of which come with an appetizer salad. I recommend the house-made Black Truffle dressing, a tangy, sweet vinaigrette with only a slight hint of earthy truffle. Try it if you like vinaigrette. If not, go with the creamy Peppery Parmesan.
The Tuxedo has farfalle (bowtie) pasta tossed with succulent chunks of grilled chicken, salty black olives, juicy artichoke hearts and a mixture of marinara and alfredo sauce. Talk about comfort food! The Tuxedo is a nice, somewhat subtle blend of flavors and textures. The most accessible, evenly distributed flavor is garlic, and both my friend and I dug the mix of marina and alfredo. It made the whole event lighter than an alfredo pasta has any right to be (major plus in our book), and it was the perfect blend of savory and sweet, creamy but not congealed. The chicken was incredibly tender and moist, cooked so soft that it disintegrates on your fork.
The Buffalo Mozzarella is nicely seared — warm, but not steaming, which means the marbled rye remains crispy and the tomato remains plump. The sandwich is super light — just the right lunch size — but the protein punch of the mozzarella meant I was well-sustained throughout the afternoon. For such a dainty affair, there's loads of flavor — whole fresh basil, chopped spinach and onions and a nutty pesto mayo. The mild, very fresh buffalo mozzarella was a nice carrier for the more powerful accents (sharp garlic, clean, sweet basil), although one of my favorite things about buffalo mozzarella is how deceptive it is. There's more flavor there than you think, it just takes a moment for the fullness to reveal itself. A sprinkle of parmesan tops the sandwich, adding a sharp, savory kick.
So yeah, really, I have no criticisms or suggestions to offer. Dizzy's, keep up the good work!
Richard Glasgow — a white guy from a small town in northern Louisiana — studied economics at LSU, finished law school in Washington D.C., practiced law a few years in Little Rock, and then opened a food cart specializing in Bangkok-style curry. Yep, you read that right. And just for kicks, he calls his cart kBird, which is a family nickname for his five year old daughter Kate. Glasgow first grew interested in Southeast Asian cuisine while working as a green grocer at Washington D.C.'s renown Eastern Market. Many of his co-workers were Southeast Asian. He watched, ate and learned, and soon Glasgow was making Pad Thai like a pro.
"That's what started this all," he said. "I loved Pad Thai so much, I had to learn to cook it for myself." Soon he was cooking for his friends' parties. After a few years of practicing law, he realized that he preferred working with food to working with briefs, so he consulted a friend in Portland who runs a food cart, went up there for a week to learn the ropes, took a pilgrimage to Bangkok with his wife Aimee, ate loads of street food and took notes (this is something he'd done a few times in the past, as well), and came home to commission a food cart.
Like many food entrepreneurs, he figured the low start-up costs made a mobile restaurant a safer bet than a brick and mortar establishment, and the freedom lets Glasgow jump-start operations, even as he's still making arrangements. Kbird officially debuted at April's Sip and Shop in Hillcrest, and Glasgow plans to be at the May 3 Sip and Shop, as well. He's done a few events, has a few in the pipes and is looking for a steady place to park somewhere along Kavanaugh. Next week, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (April 19-21), kBird will be in at 611 Beechwood, in the parking lot behind Mrs. Polka Dot. Thursday and Friday hours will be 5 - 10 p.m.; Saturday hours will be 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Eventually, Glasgow envisions a long-term evening gig, Wednesdays through Saturdays, where people can call in orders or just drop by on their way home from work or after shopping in the neighborhood. Right now the menu has four items — Pad Thai, Thai-fried rice, and red and green curry. Anything can go vegan (there's even dedicated cooking utensils for such purposes), and some things can go gluten-free. Glasgow is partial to the Red Bird Curry with either tofu or pork, and he explains the difference between red and green curry as simply "red or green chile." Basically, green is a "wetter," spicier curry, using fresh green chile. Red curry uses dried chile. Green is more popular in southern Thailand, and Red is a northern dish. "Bangkok Style" is a sort of fusion, pulling from all over the country.
According to Glasgow, Southeast Asian food is more about prep work than actual cooking. "Thai's trinity is galangal (Thai ginger), shallots and garlic," he said. These are the base of the homemade curry pastes he makes — "which actually isn't the way they do it in Thailand anymore," he added. "Mostly they buy whatever is the best on the market, but Thais used to make it themselves." Other common spices are Thai basil, which has a licorice flavor, and cilantro.
I find myself in the highly unusual (for me, at least) position of having sampled two bowls of cheese soup, roughly a block apart, in the space of a single week. Thought I’d pass along notes, in case anyone downtown is craving cheese soup and needs help making an informed decision. (If anyone knows of other cheese soups, please give a shout. Somehow this week’s accidental duplicity has made discovering the perfect bowl of cheese soup feel like a personal mission.)
Today’s Red Pepper Gouda at Big Whiskey’s is some of the finest cheese soup I’ve ever tasted, and I bet that it’d be even better with a dark beer. But there was this little thing called work that usually follows my weekday lunches, so I abstained. The Gouda has a sharp, smoky flavor, and the soup’s texture is thick and creamy, retaining more of a “melted cheese” quality rather than the gelled ooze that can be so unappealing with cheese dip and sundry cheesy products. In fact, the texture was a little chewy in places, like the cheese had been sawed off the wheel and melted down unevenly in the pot.
I’ve also had a recent bowl of Spicy Beer Cheese soup from Flying Saucer — “housemade with an English brown ale,” according to the menu. What the menu doesn’t tell you is that, primarily, you’re ordering a bowl of crusty bread with a healthy doll-up of cheese dip in the center. Yep, I found the spicy beer soup to be somewhat exceptional cheese dip, but cheese dip none the less, and for inexplicable reasons, cheese dip freaks me out. More precisely, the plastic, gloopy texture of cheese dip (shared by this soup) freaks me out. But the soup also had juicy hunks of roasted red pepper and a generous dose of cayenne pepper, offset with a nutty hint of brown ale. And the bread was soft, thick, spongy and delicious, even though I couldn’t bring myself to consume a whole bowl of it. (In my experience, polishing off an entire bread bowl is never for the faint of heart).
In both (all?) cases, a little cheese soup goes a long way. Both soups are priced between $5.50 and $6. Let me know if there are others out there.
Had to jet home during lunch and take care of a couple of blah-tasks (bills, cleaning, etc.), so I was just planning to dump hummus on spinach and call it a salad. Luckily, the Royal Kabob Wagon has taken up residence in a parking lot near my apartment, changing my plans on the spot.
Little Rock newest food truck is owned by Roy Windham, a Pulaski Tech culinary school grad and self-professed hippie. He met a couple of guys from Vermont at Wakarusa, hopped aboard their food truck and went to a few more music festivals, then stole all their recipes, came back to Little Rock, bought and revamped an old lemonade truck and parked off Boone St./Markham, across from Arkansas School for the Deaf. And that's how Burlington's Ahli Baba Kabob Shop came to Little Rock, disguised as Roy Windham's Royal Kabob Wagon, in a nutshell. Or rather, in a pita.
Most Eat Arkansas readers are familiar with The House, a two-story house turned gastropub, tucked away on a Hillcrest side-street. There are a few menu pluses, such as suggested entree/drink pairings and a handful of veg/vegan options, but I’d been warned that The House suffers from unreliable service.
Last week a friend and I had dinner at the The House, on one of those perfect first warm evenings promising spring, and of course, the place was slammed. We wanted patio seating, but we ended up inside — which was OK. The place is too dark and plain to be considered inviting, but there is a brooding, artsy vibe that we could get down with. There also seemed to be only one waiter, and every table was full. His (forgivable, due to crowd capacity?) list of offenses veered from slightly annoying (staggered food delivery, having to mimic an air traffic controller just to get silverware, no water or wine refills) to all-out ridiculous (he dumped our fries on the table, scooped them back on the plate with his hand and said, ‘I’ll get you some more’ — right before disappearing for the rest of the evening).
We split the Thai Green Curry and the Baked Mac and Cheese, the latter of which is supposed to come with a choice of fries. Oh, excuse me, a choice of sides — which must mean fries, since we were never asked our preference and our dish came out with the aforementioned fries…because you know, who would prefer a side salad to starch on starch?
At least the Mac and Cheese was comforting. It was made to order in an individual baking dish, which saved it from becoming a congealed-cheese casualty of hours under a warming light. What we got: a textural feast of chewy elbow noodles, heavy garlic flavor, creamy mornay (a white cheese sauce) and a perfect, crunchy ceiling of melted cheese and breadcrumb.
The kitchen split the Thai Green Curry into two bowls at our request — a surprise since the waiter acted as if we’d asked him to harness the moon, and we quickly suggested he just bring an extra bowl instead. On the menu, nine ingredients are listed for vegan Thai Green Curry (ten if you opt-in for chicken), and the dish definitely tasted decadent. The base was a creamy, citrus-flavored coconut milk, made subtly spicy and mildly sweet by the addition of ginger and basil.
The veg version is supposed to come with extra eggplant, but there was nothing generous about the tiny cubes in our bowls. We completely dug the plump, baby tomatoes, though — slightly cooked and not at all mushy, bursting open in the most satisfying way, flooding our mouths with warm, fresh juice. The curry was served with a smidgen of rice (less is better for me, in these cases — I want to taste the substance rather than the sustenance), a wedge of lime and a sprinkle of cilantro.
By the time we left, the dining room had cleared out substantially. Even so, someone (a bus boy?) tried to clear away a dish that I was obviously still working on.
The next day I called in a vegan burger and was given a choice of French fries or sweet potato fries. The place was transformed from the night before. The dining room was nearly deserted, my order was produced quickly, and the guy dealing with me was chatty and friendly. Maybe I should give dinner another shot?
Back to my veggie burger: the buns are made with eggs, and I wanted to sample the vegan option. So I had focacia bread instead, which was a little tough in the corners. But the veg patty was a moist, yummy, whole black bean and mashed lentils concoction. I also saw/tasted red peppers, barley and spinach. It had a thick, jaw-gratifying texture and even held together well. There were no fancy flavors — the burger just tasted wholesome and fresh, and that was enough. But if you want a kick, dress your burger with little of the super-spicy (Sriracha, I suspect) ketchup served with the sweet potato waffle fries. Perfection!
I've heard so much about the awarding-winning Garden sandwich at Jimmy's Serious Sandwiches that I decided to stop in for a quick lunch yesterday. Little did I realize, Jimmy's at noon on a weekday is not entirely conducive to buzzing in, buzzing out. Every table was full, and it seems those in the know call their orders in. I ordered my sandwich and was handed a number — 35, yikes. But the wait went quickly (ten minutes on the bench by the door, perusing the aptly placed Arkansas Times), and then I had my styrofoam lunch box in hand: one The Garden with a side of tomato barley soup.
Worth the wait. Worth the wait. D-e-f-i-n-i-t-e-l-y worth the wait. Soft, sharp pumpernickel bread, salty-gooey cheese, loads of fresh-tasting sauteed green stuff (spinach pate, according to the menu), slick mushrooms, crunchy sunflower seeds and earthy sprouts. Warm, comforting, slightly oily and perfectly hearty — this sandwich gets everything right. (Of course, I'd go with a wee handful of extra sunflower seeds, but the skimping is forgivable, considering that post-consumption, I found myself in a happy-just-to-be-here state).
The tomato barley soup was also good, but after The Garden, it's barely worth mentioning. It had a strong rosemary flavor, which I appreciated, but the stock was a little thin. It did host lots of barely, another plus. My first encounter with Jimmy's, on a sunny Spring-is-coming day, was very pleasant.
In November, Pizza Cafe opened a Take and Bake outlet at 102 Markham Park Drive. The premise is simple — show up, order your pizza, watch the staff whip it up deli-style in front of you, take it home and stick it in the oven. Eleven to 18 minutes later, bon appetit! This weekend we tried a veggie take on Pizza Cafe's revered Mexican Pizza.
Word of warning: the packaging is a bit weak. The pizza comes on a flimsy one-time bake tray, covered with plastic wrap. We were worried that the pizza would slide around in the car and come unwrapped before we got it home, but there were no mishaps. The less waste the better, so kudos to Take and Bake for forgoing boxes — but drive smoothly, or better yet, bring someone along to hold the pizza.
Our small veggie Mexican came to about $16 after tax. It's 13 inches and fed the two of us adequately, but we're light eaters. The regular Mexican pizza comes with beef, which would have added a substantial punch and probably works well, flavor-wise. A veggie-crumble alternative would be fantastic, but we doubt that's in the cards.
We popped the pizza in the oven per the instructions taped to the top of the plastic. The weird paper-aluminum one-time use tray performed well. Our pizza came out with an evenly cooked, thin, crispy, vaguely sweet crust. This complemented its salty offerings — olives and a three cheese blend. There was a sprinkle of veggies, mostly bell peppers, and salsa rather than sauce, which worked well with the overall flavor. There was nothing exceptional about our veggie Mexican Pizza, but it beats the frozen grocery store variety (for double the price, it should!), it tasted much fresher than your standard corporate delivery option, and it made a comforting quick meal. Next time we find ourselves in the area and too retail-weary to cook, we'll probably stop by again.
Hours are Mon - Sat: 11 a.m. - 7:30 p.m., Sun. 3-6 p.m.
The House wants to spread the V-day love to the city's most neglected diners. This means you, vegans and gluten-free folks! In addition to its regular menu, The House is offering two four course vegan/gluten-free price-fixe menus tomorrow night. One menu is Italian themed, while the other has a south-of-the-border vibe — but those with eclectic taste are free to mix and match. There's an eggplant, portabella and black bean chili, followed by a choice of tomato bruschetta or beer-battered avocado (the only course not gluten-free) and a main course of ratatouille or enchiladas. For desert there's apple crumble with soy ice cream or a homemade lemon champagne sorbet. It's $29.90 per person, which doesn't include alcohol.
The House is located at 772 N. Palm in Little Rock. Call 663-4500 for more info.
Copper Grill is exceptionally unexceptional, in my biased, vegetarian opinion. I’ve been eyeing Copper Grill for weeks. The blonde stone front makes me nostalgic for the West, for sunny soCal and the lodge-dotted peaks of snowy Utah. With menu offerings such as Not Your Mom’s Homemade Mac and Cheese Balls and Warm Goat Cheese Salad, I was jazzed for something extra-yummy-cozy. That blonde stone may have set the bar a little high.
Once inside, the ambiance and the food were disappointing — which isn’t to say that either were truly bad. The place was warmly lit but generically trendy, full of mod-ish fixtures and dark wood. I already knew the veg options were heavy on cheese, low on plant protein, but I guess I wasn’t prepared for the actuality of this matter. My server recommended the Portobello Flatbread with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and goat cheese, drizzled with balsamic reduction. “Best vegetarian option on the menu,” he said.
Open face, Daniel. And why let a December tomato take down the quality so drastically?…
Big fun, no lettuce and tomato?
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