It’s been a nice summer, and, per usual, I’ve done my fair share of dining out. Soooo… in no particular order, here are some of my favorite dishes from the past few months.
Thai Chop Salad at Big Orange Midtown: It’s now between this salad and the Peck Salad at Trio’s for my favorite in town. The blending of sweet and salty flavors certainly stands out with the Thai Chop, as does the plentiful portion of medium rare chunks of ribeye.
Doughnut Muffin at The Root: One of the very first things I ate in Little Rock, and as far as baked goods go, still one of the best. The cinnamon/sugar exterior is what makes this muffin so very good. Just make sure you pair it with a cup of Mountain Bird Coffee.
Poutine at Table 28: Let’s get one thing straight … the lack of cheese curds eliminates this from being authentic poutine, but that’s where my negativity begins and ends. Pork, mac and cheese, and fries make for a quite unhealthy, albeit delicious dinner starter.
Green Papaya Salad at kBird: I won’t say this is the best dish in Little Rock because I haven’t eaten every dish in town, but I will say that it’s one of my absolute favs. Be forewarned, this salad can get a little spicy (some days more than others), but if you can handle it, I assure you the freshness of the papaya and the crunchiness of the peanuts will make you order this salad again and again.
Farmers Market Splendor at Trio’s: Waaaay back in 2015, this dish made me first fall in love with Trio’s. What’s not to love about local, fried okra, purple hull peas, squash, corn on the cob, and sliced tomatoes?
Fried Catfish at Brewsters II Café: Simply put, this is the best fried catfish I’ve come across in Little Rock. Not that I’m an aficionado on the subject, but if you find better, please let me know. The super crunchy cornmeal crust and hearty catfish filets make this dish shine. Brewsters is such a hidden gem.
Smoked Trout Nachos at Flyway: Honestly, with just a single piece of fish on each chip, these nachos don’t look all that impressive, but they are very tasty bar food. Flyway has slowly gotten better and better over the past several months with its edibles. The nachos are a perfect example of why this NLR craft brewery has more than just good beer offerings.
Breakfast Tacos at Mugs Café: I’ve written about these tacos in the past and them falling on this list is a testament to their consistency. I’m not typically a fan of breakfast tacos made with corn tortillas, but these somehow work, due in large part to an excellent chorizo.
Dumplings at China Wok: Thank you, Mr. Pinter, for this fantastic recommendation. Whether steamed or panned fried, China Wok’s pork dumplings (8 for $4.50) are absolutely delicious and an amazing value. The wrappers are soft, thick, and downright addictive.
Cinnamon Roll at PattiCakes: Hey, Conway is only about 30-40 minutes away…and the cinnamon rolls at PattiCakes are definitely worth the drive. I love how they are gooey, but not too gooey, and, like everything else at PattiCakes, are super fresh.
Jagerschnitzel at The Pantry: I go back and forth whether this or the green papaya salad at kBird is my favorite dish in Little Rock, so that alone should tell you about my feelings towards the jagerschnizel. It includes four of my favorite things on earth: fried pork, mushrooms, gravy, and greatness.
Mess o’ Greens at South on Main: These greens were a nightly special when I was at South on Main for a concert. How does a pile of mixed greens topped with cured, shaved egg yolks, sound? The answer … pretty damn good.
Wafflewich at Arkansas Fresh Cafe: At 39, you tell yourself not to eat waffles when they are served as the main component of a breakfast sandwich. And then you walk into Arkansas Fresh Cafe and all hell breaks loose. You win, Arkansas Fresh, you win.