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Fried Catfish, Rabbit, & BBQ Highlight Recent Eats

Fried Catfish, Rabbit, & BBQ Highlight Recent Eats
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Thoughts from my recent dining out experiences…

I’m finally starting to venture out a bit from the restaurants in the Little Rock area. Heck, with your amazing help, I even put together a cool list of great places in small towns across the state. Well, thanks to a couple buddies, I can now cross off The Hurley House Cafe in Hazen from the list. And I’m very happy to report that HH was, indeed, quite good. The double patty burger with fries was the shining star of the lunch, but the fried catfish from the small buffet was a close second. The monster burger was well-seasoned and cooked to a perfect medium and the thin catfish had a super thick, crispy coating that proved to be delightful. My fried spicy chicken sandwich– basically a glorified, processed chicken nugget– was an absolute disappointment; however, the golden brown side of onion rings saved the plate from complete disaster. Bites of carrot cake were also met with delight. The Hurley House is cozy, charming, and a place I would not hesitate to visit again.

Back in Little Rock, I popped into South on Main for dinner and a cocktail at the bar. The Rabbit “Rueben” on the menu immediately caught my eye. The dish included pieces of ham-wrapped rabbit loin, along a with deliciously tender thigh and leg quarter, rye spaetzle, and sauerkraut. Rabbit is so tasty, and while I’ve always enjoyed SoM’s past preparations of the protein, this particular dish really hit the spot, particularly because of that brilliant use of rye spaetzle.

I drove out to Benton to visit Fire Dancer BBQ, a beautiful food truck trailer, which, on that day, was parked at the Main Street Station. Truth be told, I messed up. With any good BBQ, timing is everything, meaning, arrive early! My plan was to be there at 11 a.m., but circumstances (kids!!!) prohibited me from arriving until 1:10 p.m., just 50 minutes before closing. I had my sights set on the Tiny Dancer … a huge, 1-lb+ sandwich filled with sliced brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, sausage and slaw. Unfortunately, all they had left was the pulled pork, so a pulled pork sandwich and a side of slaw and potato salad was what I got. My food was ready within a few minutes. Along with the quick, friendly service, I was also impressed with the heaping pile of slightly smoky pork and the moderate amount of sweet bbq sauce applied to the meat. Overall, even at this late hour, the meat was certainly good enough to warrant a follow-up visit. Fire Dancer is definitely a place you’ll want to check out, especially if you live in the Bryant/Benton area. I was less enthused with the slaw and potato salad, and although I could be wrong, they didn’t strike me as house-made. That said, when I get my act together, the Tiny Dancer has my name on it. Go follow them on Facebook for locations/times.