I won’t beat around the bush with this one. Our meal last night at SO Restaurant-Bar was way too average, way too expensive, and the overall menu played it way too safe. Nothing was bad, but nothing was stellar … with the entire dinner tasting like we were at a very nice wedding reception.
For starters, we split a 1/2-dozen Massachusetts oysters, a plate of roasted cauliflower with bacon, and a wedge salad. The oysters were fresh, briny, and tasty, but weren’t properly shucked … with each oyster still attached to the muscle. My wife gave a thumbs up to the Greek wedge salad, but the entire table gave a collective “meh” on the $16 small plate of cauliflower with bacon. I dare say it was one of the most laughably-priced dishes I’ve ever eaten anywhere.
I ordered the bone-in pork chop for my entrée, while my tablemates got the chicken marsala, sea bass with orzo, and salmon with risotto. Again, nothing was bad, but every dish was just way too boring. My pork chop was well-seasoned and cooked perfectly but the roasted potatoes and green beans were snoozers. No complaints about my bites of the other dishes, but I will point out that the chicken marsala had a slab of cold butter resting over the food that left my buddy bewildered. After scraping it off, he seemed fairly content with the rest of the dish.
You know we had to split the iconic Chocolate Sack (no giggles, please) for dessert. It too, had a few minor issues, like a nearly impossible to crack chocolate shell and mundane, package graham crackers, but the delicious cake and ice cream certainly made up for any of the dessert’s other deficiencies.
My two whiskey sour cocktails were excellent (no pre-made sweet & sour mix here) and I heard nothing but great things from the others about the wine.
Our service was absolutely stellar from the moment we walked through the door until we left … the waiter was attentive but not invasive, and a manager came over to ask how the evening went towards the end of the meal. The ambiance, décor, and overall atmosphere is second to none in this city, and the wine list is impeccable.
Not to sound like a broken record, but the food was a snoozer, especially for the price. I don’t usually knock restaurants on pricing. I know business is tough and margins are tight, but SO is one of, if not the, most expensive restaurants in Little Rock. Be prepared to fork over a pretty penny- even if you choose to just order an entree, it will be hard for a couple to spend less than $100 … and that’s before a tip.
I really want to love SO. Seriously, the setting is so warm, cozy, and inviting … and while I hate to judge a restaurant on one meal, the absurdly high prices and average food will likely prohibit me from ever dining there again for a full dining experience. But I’ll definitely be back to hit the bar and have a few cocktails and dessert.