Archive for category The Dish
Monthly Feature, By Jarred Kibbey
Each month, Jarred highlights one of his favorite dishes from around Little Rock.
There are few dishes that I have found in Little Rock that I can place on a list for “best sandwich,” “best breakfast item,” and “best lunch* item,” but the lox bialy at Boulevard Bread Company is firmly on each of those lists for me.
Lox isn’t something I ran across growing up in rural Arkansas. To be honest, I didn’t even know what lox was for the longest time. Once I found out, the idea of eating fish for breakfast wasn’t something that sounded appetizing – or even a good idea. Where I grew up, there was only one way to prepare fish, deep fried with a cornmeal batter. So I avoided it as long as I could.
When I finally tried lox, it was at Boulevard Bread. I was instantly hooked and had to order another one the next day. The cured salmon goes so well with the chewy onion bialy, briny capers, sliced red onions, cream cheese, mixed greens, and tomato. I am not sure what it is about this specific sandwich, but I have ordered similar dishes at other places and nothing comes close.
I have tried other variations of the sandwich at Boulevard when they were out of the onion bialy. I have tried it on a cheese bialy, but it isn’t the same. It needs the sharpness of the onion cooked in to the bialy. I have tried it on the multigrain bread, and it doesn’t hold up as well as the bialy. I have a friend who swears by subbing the cream cheese for goat cheese, it takes it to a whole other level. I want to try it, but I just can’t bring myself to mess with something I love so much.
I crave this sandwich and come to Boulevard specifically for it. Boulevard has a wonderful, creative brunch menu and I have tried many of the dishes. I say “tried” and not “ordered” because I always bum a bite off someone else at the table, because I am always going to order the lox bialy. Ordering the same dish every time is something I really try to avoid, but I just can’t help it when it comes to this sandwich.
*Note: lox bialy is only served until noon. I was severely disappointed when I tried to order one for a late lunch and subsequently threw a temper tantrum when I got back to the car.
Chef Arturo Solis continues tweaking the menu at Capital Bar and Grill, this time with his version of a NOLA classic … green gumbo or gumbo z’herbes.
“I’ve always liked the idea of new things. Honestly, it comes down to sharing new things with our guests. And in doing so, I truly believe this lesser known ‘underdog’ gumbo is fantastic. I would love for CBG to be the place that gets Little Rock hooked on green gumbo,” says Solis.
Primary ingredients in the CBG recipe include: turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, Swiss chard, and Andouille sausage.
I popped into the restaurant for a quick lunch last week to try out this new addition to the menu and was overwhelmingly pleased with both the taste and presentation. It’s lighter than most gumbos, has a nice spice, and definitely filled me up without weighing me down. In short, I loved it and wouldn’t hesitate ordering it again.
As you can see, the presentation—with beautiful, dehydrated okra, thin slices of sausages, and fluffy rice—isn’t too shabby either.
The green gumbo is available on both the lunch and dinner menus. I applaud Chef Solis for breaking something a little different to the table, and only hope the public embraces it.
Capital Bar and Grill
111 W. Markham St.
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 11 a.m.-12 a.m; Sunday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Last Friday marked my third visit to the popular Heights Taco & Tamale Co. in the Heights neighborhood. Admittedly, I’ve still yet to try some of the more popular dishes like the tamales, cheese dip, Ark-Mex enchiladas, or the pulled pork tacos. My first visit was a quick, late evening pop-in to try the chocolate cake. The second time around, I sat at the bar and downed a plate of bean and cheese nachos.
So, here I was with part of my fam on a blistering hot early afternoon in Little Rock, and the thought of eating enchiladas and tacos was none too appealing. I scanned the menu in search of some lighter options and came across the Ensalada del Sol. The description hooked me, “Grilled Citrus Shrimp, Mango, Avocado, Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette.”
The Yellow Rocket knows a thing or two about creating dynamite salads (see Big Orange and ZAZA), so I had high hopes for HTT’s Ensalada del Sol ($12.50). The salad was beautifully presented with skewers of medium-sized, well-seasoned shrimp resting atop a bed of crisp, chopped romaine lettuce. Perfectly ripe slices of avocado and mango sat on the edges. I quickly removed the tails of each shrimp, cut the mango and avocado into smaller pieces, poured the dressing, and tossed all of the ingredients together.
Ten minutes later, I had polished off the entire plate. In short, the salad was fantastic. The shrimp were cooked just right, and together with the fresh mango and creamy avocado, along with the light vinaigrette, provided for a perfect summertime lunch. It’s worth noting that the mango was so good, I almost ordered another side plate of the fruit.
Would I order this salad again? Absolutely. And it’s nice to know I can walk into a restaurant like this and be able to order a lighter option when I’m not in the mood to be weighed down by heavier bean and cheese based dishes.
Worth noting: On Friday at noon, our party of three was able to sit immediately. I mention this because waits during peak times have reached upwards of 1.5 hours. Also, the service was excellent throughout the meal.
Heights Taco & Tamale Co.
5805 Kavanaugh Blvd
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (kitchen) 11 a.m.-11 p.m. (bar)
Let’s get this insane fact out of the way right off the bat … I’ve lived in Little Rock for three years and yesterday was my first visit to Arkansas Burger Co. Crazy, right? My buddy, Dax (aka The Keyser Soze of LR foodies), has been telling me for months to stop in and order the Hog Burger. Dude is always specific with his directions.
“Get the Hog Burger with cheddar, no mayo.”
Seeing as Dax is batting 1000 on food recommendations, I listened. And once again, he nailed it. The burger comes with thin, crispy bacon and all the traditional toppings like mustard, pickles, shredded lettuce, and tomatoes. The patty is neither thin nor thick and is cooked to a perfect medium. It’s juicy, but not over-seasoned, instead relying on the beef’s flavor and other condiments to elevate the taste.
Simply put, the Hog Burger is a traditional, no frills cheeseburger that is sure to delight. Not to be overlooked were the delightful onion rings. These were of the shoestring variety, and again, like the burger, not an overly seasoned item, but cooked just right. While the fries I sampled were also well prepared, I’d have to rate the rings a tad better.
Is this burger one of the Top 10 in town? I’m certainly no expert, but as it stands, I’d have to slot it on my list.
Worth noting: Great to see a local business packed during a summertime lunch service. It’s obvious Arkansas Burger Co. is a beloved spot among loyal Little Rock burger lovers.
Arkansas Burger Co.
7410 Cantrell Road
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Closed Sunday & Monday