I’ll eliminate the suspense. My favorite dish in Little Rock is the green papaya salad at kBird. Notice how I said “favorite” and not “best.” I haven’t eaten every restaurant dish in town, so I can’t safely say it’s the best.
But it is my favorite … and it became even more apparent last week while I was in New York City of all places. We can agree that NYC is the culinary Mecca of the United States, so I thought it would be a perfect spot to pick a highly rated Thai restaurant (PURE Thai Cookhouse) and try out their version of green papaya salad.
It was fresh, sour, spicy, slightly sweet … all the same traits as kBird’s version. Pieces of green beans, tomatoes, and cilantro blended beautifully with shreds of papaya and bits of peanuts and baby dried shrimp, the latter of which kBird’s take lacks (in whole form). I even got a little adventurous and added some raw pieces of salted blue crab as a salad topper.
It was outstanding, but kBird’s green papaya salad is better. All of the flavors just seems brighter and more vibrant. This dish has been my personal, clear-cut favorite for a while now, but it was nice to get some more validation. My bigger point is this … we are very fortunate to have a restaurant like kBird and a chef like Richard here in Little Rock.
If you’ve never been to his restaurant, make sure to go, but check the hours of operation before heading out.
600 N Tyler St
Hours: Monday-Wednesday 11am-2pm & 5-8pm; Thursday-Friday 11am-2pm; Closed Saturday-Sunday
Phone: (501) 352-3549