Wine dining 

Chef shows out at Le Stick Nouveau.

click to enlarge dining_review1-1-61719607567de7aa.jpg

Eureka Springs is a weird place, right? We recently went with our out-of-stater spouse, her first trip to the magical, enchanted/haunted, gay- and biker-friendly hiccup in the northwestern fabric of Arkansas and had a lovely time. Her most astute observation: "It seems you're somewhere other than Arkansas yet simultaneously surrounded by Arkansans." We think she meant it in a nice way.

Le Stick is a solid addition to the food scene in Eureka. The dining room is nice and dim, peppered with neon here and there and facing a beautiful bar backed by blue neon and lit with tiny, tasteful chandeliers. The ladies on staff, servers and cocktail conjurers, wore corsets on top of their black blouses. We thought it bold, if a little outre. The wife wasn't as impressed. The overall mood inside is of a Las Vegas recreation of what a New Orleans restaurant might look like. But they make it work. It's comfortable, with a gothic glow.

We happened to dine on a night when the menu was set for a special occasion ($68 per fixed course meal). So we can't speak to the regular offerings, but we can speak to the competency of the chef and serving crew, who shone throughout each of the six courses. There were a couple of minor disappointments, but nothing that can't be overlooked with an impressive wine list and a strong finish.

The first two courses paled in comparison to the following four. Our first bite of the mousse-like salmon brandade with caviar struck us as a bit fishy, but not in the way, we think, Chef Donny Cummings intended. This was followed by a gazpacho soup garnished with a spare stalk of bib lettuce, cucumber and a single grilled shrimp. The gazpacho was thick, but tasted fresh. It was well seasoned, even spicy. The shrimp was spicy, too, and quite tasty. We just found the offering a bit stingy.

An oaky Edna Valley Chardonnay and a dazzling white Barons de Rothschild Bordeaux smoothed the rough spots of these first two courses. Our server said she didn't know much about wine before starting at the restaurant. She said she was much more comfortable making suggestions now — and has even become quite good, we'd add — after sitting down with the owners for a tasting course complete with descriptions of subtle hints and faint notes. We enjoyed a Grenache/Syrah blend and a Bila-Haut Cotes du Rhone with later courses and, though wine by the glass sets you back $10, the wine list is well curated. We didn't have one glass that wasn't well paired and delicious. We were also offered a taste when unsure, which is very kind of busy servers.

The next course featured an arugula salad with walnut-encrusted goat cheese and a semisweet and tart orange vinaigrette. The arugula was fresh, crispy, clean and peppery. The cheese was so buttery, sweet and delightful that even our cheese-hating spouse liked it. We love a salad that's not an afterthought and this is one of the best around.

The next course — champagne-fried lobster tail with a sparkling rosé beurre blanc sauce — makes us weak just writing about it. It was better than wonderful, delicately done, a four-star dish. And there's good news! The owners told a very pleased crowd at the end of the night that it would soon become a regular on the menu. We always thought it a tad lavish to fry lobster. Why mess with something that is going to be good just by being on a plate, boiled? We're happy to say we were presumptuous. The batter was light and provided the faintest crust. This fried, beautiful meat sat atop a wonderfully indulgent, buttery sauce that was perfectly complementary. We can't say enough about this dish. Really.

Another standout was offered as an "intermezzo." Our server placed a small spoon before us. In it sat a lovely ginger and jalapeno sorbet, dolloped into a bit of cucumber vodka. This was literally one bite of food, but not one we're likely to forget soon. The punch of flavor was phenomenal, heightened by alcohol and smoothed by its own coolness.

click to enlarge SPLENDID PRESENTATION: The pork medallions wow.
  • SPLENDID PRESENTATION: The pork medallions wow.

Next came pork medallions seasoned with a cocoa and coffee rub. The potatoes and asparagus were solid sides, but the pork was beautiful. The seasoning, which promised by its own description to be overpowering, was tastefully done. The meat itself was tender and perfectly cooked.

We were looking forward to the dessert from the moment we booked the reservations: a strawberry vol-au-vent, or puff pastry, stuffed with Grand Marnier custard cream. "Light" doesn't quite cut it. It was airy, buttery, creamy, orange-tinged and all-around delicious. A delectable end to a meal served and prepared well.

Le Stick Nouveau
63 Spring St. (below the Hotel New Orleans)
Eureka Springs



Anything on the wine list is sure to be a winner. If you're not sure what bottle or glass lines up with your tastes, the staff is knowledgeable. They'll point you in the right direction. After having the vol-au-vent, we'd trust this chef with any dessert on the menu, so save room.


5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday.


Credit cards accepted, full bar.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

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.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • 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.

Latest in Dining Review

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

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

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