Thursday, May 7, 2015

Vegan variety at Superior Bathhouse

Posted By on Thu, May 7, 2015 at 10:19 AM

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At Eat Arkansas, we like to give you many different perspectives on food. Louis Williams has been bringing you tasty meals on the BBQ beat, and recently he interviewed Angela Nix, the chef at Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery, in Hot Springs. I was inspired and intrigued, so I headed down to the Spa City to bring you the veggie perspective on the menu.

The Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery has much of the same charm as the rest of Hot Springs. It's located on the beautiful pedestrian boulevard that is Bathhouse Row, and when you walk in the door, you are immediately hit with a warm smell of malt. The interior hasn't been gutted and remade into a slick, modern restaurant; it still maintains finishes and wall accents that remind you of the building's past. There are long wooden bars located at the windows, perfect for having a meal and watching people pass by outside. There are also several long communal bar tables and smaller seating.

My partner and I ordered a flight of beer each, wanting to try all that Superior had to offer. We were presented with 8 beers of varying colors, 7 being from the bathhouse and one that the server recommended from their "guest star" list. As we made our way through the flight, we were both impressed with their porter, as well as the coffee and cherry concoction they'd made from the same beer. I was very taken with the Irish red, while my dining companion thought it was a little sweet. The wheat and German ale were light and refreshing, if a little bland, but overall we enjoyed sampling the entire flight.

If the beer was middle of the road to good, the food was off the chart. The simple lunch menu focused on a mix of fresh ingredients and bar food, but what comes out is worthy of a fine dining restaurant. The first item to hit our table was the black eyed pea hummus. It was beautifully presented in a swirl of herb oil and topped with micro greens. Don't expect a bowl full of soft whipped chickpeas. This hummus is a dense brick of flavor, and it made me wonder why all hummus isn't made this way. The texture is balanced with the oil on the bottom of the bowl, and the marinated yellow tomatoes brought a light, sweet punch to the rich dish. We had no trouble eating every bite.

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I settled on the Greek Salad as my lunch, leaving off the cheese, and was happy to find a fresh green salad bursting with olives, artichoke hearts, marinated cherry tomatoes, and peppers. The salad dressing was freshly made, with pepper and spices swirled in a light vinaigrette. Greek salad is not hard to do, but what's difficult is making the salad stand out from one you can get at any other restaurant. Care was taken to each vegetable on the plate, and the home made dressing really set this dish apart.

For more veggie options, there are delicious looking panini, fresh fluffy pretzels, and more salads. The dinner menu contains a quinoa salad that sounds truly amazing, so I know I'm already set to make another trip down. Many in Little Rock might forget about dining in Hot Springs, but at less than an hour away for most, it's the perfect day trip. It's absolutely worth the drive to come down and enjoy the great flavors at Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery.

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