What's cooking/capsule reviews 

What's cooking Oak Street Bistro in Conway obtained its long-awaited private club license, allowing it to serve alcohol and to add dinner hours, according to owner Pam Trent. Along with opening at 11 a.m. for lunch on Monday through Saturday, the restaurant is open until 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The bistro closes at 2 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Trent has hired Marshall Hines as chef. Hines has a corporate chef background, working in Little Rock for the past several years. “We want to stay eclectic in our food offerings, like we always do,” Trent said. “We’re doing a fancier tuna, pork, beef, chicken wrapped in prosciutto and smoked gouda. There are 12 or 13 items on the regular menu and Marshall has two specials each night.” Being able to serve wine has long been Trent’s wish; she attempted dinner hours without the liquor a couple of times in the past. “We have a real nice wine program,” Trent said. “Bruce Cochran of Little Rock has helped me develop the program and the wines we offer. We have wine classes, wine tastings. That’s a real strong avenue for us. We’re also changing our wine list seasonally.” The phone number is 501-450-9908. The building on Kavanaugh in Hillcrest that houses E.J.’s Eats and Drinks and a clothes shop was sold recently, and we’re hearing that the empty space that once housed the EZ Mart could eventually be home to a larger E.J.’s. The owners, Eddie Phillips and Jim Meyers, aren’t ready to talk about anything, as the former EZ Mart area currently has environmental issues as the gas tanks that served the store are removed. But with all the other interesting eating establishments in the neighborhood, when the space is ready it looks like a perfect spot for an eclectic eatery – like a larger E.J.’s perhaps. Boscos in the River Market district (and with locations in Memphis and Nashville, Tenn.) has been chosen as one of the six craft breweries recognized at the Beer Gazetteer of 2005. The Beer Gazetteer is a six-week, six-session course studying and tasting the nation’s finest craft beer, which last year grew faster than any other segment of the beer industry. The Beer Gazetteer showcases the best of the nation’s 1,400 specialty breweries and brewpubs, and this year the course is offering beer from Colorado, Chicago, California and Tennessee/Arkansas. Boscos will be the featured brewpub on Aug. 1. Capsule review SEASONS IN THE HEIGHTS Though it’s presented to diners on copy paper and stapled together, you may not encounter a bigger lunch menu than the one you’ll find at Seasons, which serves up meals in the Prospect Building. Here’s a tip: go back to the last two pages, where the best entrees are featured. Sandwiches also cover the lunch gamut, and our party of three had two of them — a Reuben and a cheese-burger. Rather than sliced pastrami or corned beef, this reuben came with shredded pastrami, which took our reuben fan by surprise, but he gave it an “OK” nod afterward. His broccoli and cheese soup was more salty than he liked. Our cheeseburger fan thought his burger was as good as any he’d had in Little Rock. For our splurgy entrée diner, the grilled tilapia with a mango cream sauce sounded too good to pass up. Rather than a cream sauce flavored with mangos or containing crushed up bits of the fruit, this actually had whole slices of mango on top of the tasty, flaky tilapia. It reminded us of the best orange roughy dish we’ve had around town, from another restaurant, which topped the fish with a mango/avocado relish. We hardly noticed much cream in this sauce, as the tilapia and mango flavors overwhelmed any hint of fat. At least that’s our story and we’re sticking to it. Friends of ours rave about the dinners at Seasons, too. It’s hung in there where other pretty good establishments have failed, and that speaks volumes. And the prices are great. Three of us ate well for around $30 total. 1501 N. University. Beer and wine. CC $$ 537-2242 LD daily.


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