UPDATES KITCHEN EXPRESS While the search for Little Rock’s best meat-and-three plate lunch can lead you to some dank and dangerous places, it doesn’t have to be that way. To that end, we enthusiastically point you toward Kitchen Express. Though the name makes it sound like a place where you’re more likely to buy a spatula than a slice of pecan pie, Kitchen Express is one of Little Rock’s bright spots of down-home cuisine, a family-run joint with some of the best home cooking in the city. On a recent visit, we chowed down on a hearty lunch of meat loaf, broccoli-and-cheese casserole, big yeast rolls, and some of the best collard greens we’ve et since the last time we visited old Granny up in the hills. Though the dining room can get a bit cramped come lunchtime — you’ll rub elbows with everyone from suits to greasemonkeys during the rush hour — Kitchen Express is a tasty bit of comfort-food heaven, and well worth the trip. 4600 Asher Ave., 666-3500. LD 7 days. $ CC. T.G.I. FRIDAY’S After several visits over the years, we’ve tried much of the menu, including the new Atkins low carb dishes. Even if you’re not looking for low carb, some of the dishes like the Sizzling New York Strip with blue cheese and the Key West Grouper are still good to get. Crispy Asian Chicken Salad is a favorite, too, and anything with Jack Daniel’s sauce on it (especially the ribs) is great. The children’s menu has a good selection and even grandma in our group has been pleased. The menu makes slight changes every few months, trading out specials. Think ahead and save room for a Brownie Obsession dessert, enough for two or three. We’ve been amazed at how many people are here on weekdays, sometimes causing slower service. 2820 Lakewood Village Drive, 758-2277, LD 7days. $-$$ CC Full bar.

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