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What's cooking/capsule reviews Feb. 23 

What's cooking

Saddle Creek Woodfired Grill, an upscale steak restaurant in the Lakewood Village shopping center, has added lunch service. The restaurant is open daily, including Sunday. The phone number is 812-0883.

Denny’s Restaurant in Conway is in the process of a complete interior makeover, with new ceiling, paint, carpet, booths and tables. Barry Melton came aboard as the restaurant’s general manager about a month ago. Denny’s has rated among Conway’s best breakfast spots in past Arkansas Times Reader’s Choice awards. It’s located on East Oak Street (Highway 64) and is open daily round-the-clock.

Correction
Steve Staten is the head of the corporation that owns Bare Bones Barbecue on Highway 10 in West Little Rock. The name of the owner was incorrectly reported in a review of the Cross-Eyed Pig in last week’s issue.

Capsule reviews


COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT You usually don’t think of a Courtyard having a restaurant, and to some extent they don’t. But they do have an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet served seven days a week. We’ve stayed at Courtyards in other cities and have always enjoyed having breakfasts there. So when this one opened in downtown Little Rock in the River Market district, we had to check it out. Offerings include a scrumptious continental buffet of fruit, yogurt, hot and cold cereals, breakfast breads and pastries, juices, hot tea and coffee for $6.95. But for just another dollar, get all that and scrambled (or made to order) eggs, link sausage, thick delicious bacon, biscuits, tasty gravy, waffles and omelets. Ala a carte orders are available, too. The hot foods are kept very hot, and the coffee is great. Breakfast is served until 10 a.m. weekdays and, for the late sleepers, 11 a.m. weekends. The West Little Rock Courtyard also has the breakfast buffet. 521 President Clinton Ave., 975-9800, and 10900 Financial Centre Parkway, 227-600, B daily. $. CC.

PIERO’S This is an amazing downtown restaurant in a number of ways, and now that it serves alcohol, it’s worth a trip to Jonesboro from anywhere in the state. We love the open kitchen where you can see the chefs doing their thing. The interior’s design is upscale, “funky” in a cool way. The location on Main Street downtown is perfect, with a comfortable bed and breakfast spot nearby for travelers. Also, Piero’s has what we consider the best salad in the world: greens, tomato slices, mozzarella slices, pine nuts and tons of sliced hearts of palm complemented by a tangy vinaigrette dressing. Though priced at $10 we think it’s worth every penny. Appetizers include the excellent crab cake, which is mostly crab and little filler. Each table is treated to good crusty bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. As for entrees, nightly specials include a fresh seafood (a terrific tilapia on our visit, with crab meat and capers and a cream sauce), beef, chicken, and lamb chops, which our dining companion said were the best he’d ever had. Make sure to get the grilled veggies with the entree; on our visit, they were flavorful and cooked to perfection. Of course, Italian specialties dominate the menu and include variations on tortellini (cheese or spinach) served in a large, shallow bowl with either a marinara or cream sauce, or — the way we like it — a combination of the two. Ravioli is also done similarly, with red or white sauces. Service is exceptional. 320 S. Main St., Jonesboro. Beer and wine available (private club). CC $$-$$$. 870-802-3636. LD Mon.-Sat.

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