Gypsy’s delights 

click to enlarge FINE DINING: Gypsy's serves dependable and affordable high-quality cuisine.
  • FINE DINING: Gypsy's serves dependable and affordable high-quality cuisine.

Gypsy's Grill and Bar is the reincarnation of the late Alouette's, one of Little Rock's top fine-dining restaurants that was itself a collateral descendant of, arguably, the city's first true fine-dining establishment: Restaurant Jacques and Suzanne. These culinary pioneers taught us that fine dining was so much more than a steak, an iceberg lettuce salad and a foil-wrapped baked potato.

Alouette's owner, Denis Seyer, has transformed that French favorite into Gypsy's, where “world cuisine goes casual,” according to Gypsy's excellent and informative website (gypsysgrill.com). In the process, he has sought to keep the many regulars' old favorites (“Denis Seyer's Famous Lobster Bisque” and Grand Marnier soufflé, for example) while downsizing prices.

Addressing the “world cuisine” claim, Gypsy's remains more Continental than global fusion, with the sauces for a variety of fish — Norwegian salmon, $18; butter fish, $19; halibut, $25; big-eye tuna, $26 — providing the exoticism: Caribbean with orange cilantro glaze, Cayman style, spicy Thai red curry coconut.

And as for “casual,” Gypsy's is comfortable — soft, indirect lighting, cozy booths, tables not too close — but elegant — crisp linen, art-filled walls, oriental rugs on polished floors.

Our evening began on a doubtful note, figuratively and literally. Our server didn't know what a mint julep was. Not being surprised, however, I told her to ask the bartender and, if that professional was similarly unschooled, I'd provide the recipe. She returned with a beauty of a julep, not a classic but close enough to provide icy refreshment on a muggy night.

The literal doubtful note was the presence of a guitarist setting up to play, a prospect that alarmed my dining companion, who thinks live music and a pleasant conversation-filled meal are incompatible. Not to worry. Although we were seated only a table or two away from the musician, his playing of classical guitar was soft and proficient — an enhancement as intended and not a distraction.

My appetizer of mozzarella caprese — generous rectangles of fresh mozzarella, perfectly ripe Roma tomatoes and fresh basil in an olive oil and balsamic dressing — was superb. My companion enjoyed her tomato basil bisque, noting that it was less bisque-like than it might have been (little, if any, heavy cream) but fresh and flavorful.

My entree, one of the evening's specials, was a large piece of strip steak in a creamy peppercorn demi-glace. Not too fancy, just delicious. Tasty herb-roasted potatoes accompanied it and benefited from being swirled in the sauce.

Companion's entree of the dinner portion of crab cakes (three) pleased her. She described them as “more New England style than Creole/Cajun with a good proportion of crab to breading, nicely flavored but not spicy.”

Our desserts were a hit and a near-miss. The hit: A mixed-berry tart in custard. The near-miss: A chocolate raspberry truffle cake that my friend declared slightly dry, as if it had been prepared the day before. I call it a near-miss because she still ate every bit.

Service was flawless (you can't fault a 20-something for knowing nothing of mint juleps): warm but not effusive. Prices, even for the high-end entrees and considering the quality, are reasonable.

Although I don't think Gypsy's would thrill more adventurous palates — no improbable-seeming combinations of obscure ingredients presented architecturally — it has earned a place on the list of French-accented American-Continental restaurants that make choosing a fine-dining restaurant in the Little Rock area so much more difficult than it used to be.

Seyer's tradition of culinary service to the community continues, and for that, we're grateful.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Trump proposes an unconstitutional ban on flag burning, revoking citizenship

    Donald Trump, the president-elect of the United States, this morning made a public statement, via Twitter, that the flag burning should be disallowed by law: "there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!"
  • Child welfare too often about 'punishing parents,' DCFS consultant tells legislators

    Reforms promised by the Division of Children and Family Services are "absolutely necessary," the president of DCFS's independent consultant told a legislative committee this morning. But they still may not be enough to control the state's alarming growth in foster care cases.
  • Donald Trump taps Tom Price for HHS Secretary; Medicaid and Medicare cuts could be next

    The selection of Tom Price as HHS secretary could signal that the Trump administration will dismantle the current healthcare safety net, both Medicaid and Medicare.
  • Fake economics

    Fake news is a new phenomenon in the world of politics and policy, but hokey economic scholarship has been around as long as Form 1040 and is about as reliable as the news hoaxes that enlivened the presidential campaign.

Latest in Dining Review

  • Culinary art

    Canvas, the new restaurant in the Arkansas Arts Center, impresses.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • SO on Sunday

    Fine dining stand-by still a hit.
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • Right on, Roma

    Good food at a good price in Jacksonville.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

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