Archive for category Restaurant Review

Mixed Bag at Eat My Catfish in Little Rock

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I was never a big fan of fried catfish until I moved to Little Rock about five years ago, and now I love it. Funny how that works out. Same can be said about pimento cheese. Anyways, my newfound love for the fried version of this bottom-dwelling fish has led me to seek out places that specialize in it.

Restaurants like … Eat My Catfish in Little Rock. Here’s how yesterday’s lunch turned out (which was also my first time at the restaurant).

Food
I had two tablemates for lunch, so I was able to try out a few menu items. I ordered the fried crawfish po’boy and added a side of fries. The fries were solid, fairly ho-hum, but still good enough for me to devour 80% of the basket. Unfortunately, however, the po’boy bordered on terrible. The pieces of crawfish were small, over-battered and almost all fell out of the sandwich with one bite. The somewhat dry, bland bread was also a disappointment. Happily, a couple bites of my buddy’s fried catfish and chicken tenders turned the meal around. The piping hot fish was well-seasoned, crispy, and overall, just an excellent version of this Southern classic. Same can be said for the meaty chicken tenders. And while I didn’t get to try the hush puppies, they certainly passed the eyeball test.

Atmosphere/Service
Eat My Catfish is a fast casual, order-at-the-counter restaurant with friendly, attentive service. Think of it as a catfish version of David’s Burgers, without someone screaming at you upon walking through the door. Heck, the cashier even called me “honey,” which was cool.

Price
My small-ish po’boy, basket of fries, and Diet Coke ran about $12 (and I added a $1 tip). I wouldn’t categorize this as an insane value, but it was reasonable.

Verdict
I won’t be rushing back to Eat My Catfish, but the food was certainly good enough to inspire a return visit. The fried catfish can hold its own with the Flying Fish and The Faded Rose’s of the world … and folks on my FB claim the boiled crawfish and shrimp are the real deal. Go check out the menu, and you’ll see that Eat My Catfish is heaven for lovers of fried food. Fried chicken tenders, catfish, pickles, shrimp, and cheese … it’s all there.

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Quick Hits: Dinner at Lulu’s Latin & The Root, Lunch at Deluca’s & Three Fold

Parillada for Two at Lulu's

Parillada for Two at Lulu’s

 

Another outstanding Friday night dinner at The Root Café a few weeks ago has me eagerly anticipating the restaurant’s upcoming announcement of a full-time dinner service. The 5-course creation from January 20th proved once again the restaurant’s ability to execute simple, local ingredients in a fun and imaginative way. Dishes like pork belly with chilaquiles, cabbage soup with apple slaw, and turnip risotto all hit the spot, while also illustrating the restaurant’s focus on incorporating local ingredients into the menu. I do, however, hope management looks into adding some sound proofing to the new dining area, as it was quite loud during the dinner. That said, once dinner service does get going, it wouldn’t surprise me to see it quickly embraced by the community. Chef John Arrington and Pastry Chef Sara Slimp are both very talented and are primed to help The Root join SoMa’s growing nighttime dining scene.

Mylo Coffee Co.’s new side area addition is complete and it’s not only gorgeous, but quite seamless. Once you walk through the door, turn to the right and take a gander. As for the product, I deviated from my regular pour over coffee in favor of a latte (with almond milk). Excellent.

Speaking of deviating from my norm … I actually went to Three Fold and didn’t get the dumplings. I’m not sure why, but I instead got the noodle bowl with pork and a side of carrot slaw, the latter of which was dumped into the bowl, mixed, and promptly devoured. I’m guessing you know the rest … it was fantastic. An eyeball test tells me business still must be good at this fast-casual downtown dining spot, as the line nearly extended from the counter to the front door.

My latest visit to Lulu’s Latin Rotisserie and Grill was a huge hit. This comes on the heels of two average experiences over the past few months, so I wasn’t exactly clamoring to go back. After last Friday night’s meal, I’m back on the Lulu’s train. Everything was fantastic … the Parillada for two (with medium-rare NY Strip, rotisserie chicken, fries, and a salad) was gobbled up by my family of four, as was a side of black beans and rice, and some insanely addictive fried yuca. Service was attentive and friendly, and the reasonable $50 tab has me wanting to get back to Lulu’s a heck of a lot sooner, rather than later. Hopefully, consistency issues have been hammered out, because this restaurant is a hidden gem, and one I hope more people check out.

I went to Deluca’s yesterday. Update … it’s still the best. Enough said.

Major props to Capi Peck of Trio’s, Chef Ken Dempsey, Sharon Woodson of Honey Pies, and Nathaniel Izard of Izard Chocolate for pulling off an amazing dinner the other night. It was the first TMR Collaborative Dinner, and judging by the diners’ happiness, it may not be our last. The theme was “South by South” and featured courses like Mexican Street Cornbread, Legumbres en Pipian, Fried Green Tomatillos with Smoked Pork, and Churro Profiteroles. A big thank to all those involved and to everyone who attended. Keep an eye out for our next dinner which should be sometime in early March.

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Burrito de Carnitas is an Excellent Option at Taqueria Karina

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There’s a good chance that most people reading this post have never even heard of Taqueria Karina. But for those who have experienced the restaurant at 5309 W. 65th Street, you know the food is worthy of high praise.

And that’s exactly what I’m about to do.

It all starts out with a chips and salsa combination that is, to date, the best I’ve come across in Little Rock. The chips are thin, crisp, and absolutely fresh–perfect for dipping into the warm, soupy, slightly spicy salsa. In my experience, most Mexican restaurants in this area either do a good job with the chips or the salsa, but not both, and more often than not, neither. So kudos to Karina for starting the meal off right.

I’ve only eaten at Taqueria Karina three times, so while my knowledge of the menu is still fairly limited, I can definitely recommend leaning towards beef and pork options, as the chicken tends to be on the dry side. Don’t get me wrong, the chicken isn’t bad, but the beef and pork are far superior … especially the pork. On my most recent visit, I ordered the Burrito de Carnitas, a plate that included a large tortilla stuffed with a heaping portion of tender, shredded pork meat, as well as a serving of rice and beans. The pork was magnificent, seriously, like really magnificent. For the most part, the chef kept the fatty pieces off the plate, which was very appreciated. The rice was fine–nothing stellar–but no worries from my end, as accompanying rice is usually viewed as a plate filler for me. The refried beans were a little runny for my liking, but again, this comes down to personal preference.

If you’ve never been to Taqueria Karina, I highly recommend trying this underrated hidden gem in SWLR. And if you have been, please let me know what you like and dislike.. It will be difficult to divert from the burrito, but I’m willing to try.

Hours:
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: 10:30AM–9PM
Friday: 10:30AM–10PM
Saturday: 10:30AM–10PM
Sunday: 10:30AM–10PM
Monday: 10:30AM–9PM
Tuesday: 10:30AM–9PM

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Time to Check Out La Terraza Rum & Lounge

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Pernil al Horno

 

Remember Acadia? It was the restaurant located in the heart of Hillcrest off Kavanaugh with the bad ass deck. Well, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, it’s now La Terraza Rum & Lounge—a restaurant specializing in South American dishes, many of which fuse with other flavors from around the world.

The menu is a little different, a characteristic often frowned upon by many Little Rock diners. We love our comfort food dishes, the meat and potatoes, our shrimp and grits … things that have been on menus around here for 30+ years. And there’s nothing wrong with that. However, a restaurant like La Terraza not only has a place in Little Rock, but its success, along with other ethnic establishments like kBird and Lulu’s, is absolutely critical for the continued growth of our local food scene.

This is all just a long-winded, soapbox way of saying La Terraza Rum & Lounge is a place you might want to consider checking out.

I did just that on Tuesday afternoon.

My tablemate and I sat outside on the lovely deck and enjoyed some of this springtime weather. Lunch started with a complimentary cup of white bean soup, followed by our order of the beef carpaccio and arepas. We gobbled up both apps and the soup. I was particularly impressed with the beautifully presented carpaccio, which was highlighted by a generous topping of basil aioli. The mini, cheese-filled arepas are purposefully bland (think pupusa) but elevated by a spicy jalapeno jelly. For my entrée, I opted for the Pernil al Horno, a pile of baked, thinly sliced pork, covered in a thin, brown gravy, which came with a pile of black beans and rice and plantains. This dish flat out hit the spot. The pork was tender, and while the plantains were somewhat bland, a forkful with each of the plate’s components was where the dish truly shined. My friend ordered the Stroganoff de Pollo, a creamy concoction of chicken, mustard, and pickles over what were essentially kettle chips. He seemed as pleased with his order as I was with mine.

Overall, the food and service proved to be outstanding, traits that will definitely lead to a return visit. Is La Terraza an elite Little Rock restaurant? It’s still too early to say, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

Notes: Menu offers a variety of soups, salads, and sandwiches. Other dishes include: paella, grilled salmon, rib-eye served on a hot, lava stone, and arroz con leche. As the name of the restaurant suggests, the menu features several rum-based cocktails. Wine is also available. Hours of operation: Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 3000 Kavanaugh Blvd.

Arepas

Arepas

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Beef Carpaccio

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