Posts Tagged Baja Grill

100 of the Best Appetizers in Little Rock

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Skillet Bread at South on Main

 

Save this list, bookmark it, print it out … do whatever you have to do to file it away and use it as the ultimate reference guide for the best appetizers in Little Rock. Below is a combination of reader response and personal favorites. If there are any glaring omissions, please add them to the comment box. Also, make sure to check each restaurant’s current menu, as some of the appetizers are seasonal items.

Bruschetta, Hummus, or Baba Ganoush at YaYa’s
My Take: A friend once told me about the magnificence of YaYa’s baba ganoush and she was absolutely right.

Brussels Sprouts or Fried Hummus Bites at North Bar

Bacon Wrapped Dates, Truffled Deviled Eggs, House Made Ricotta, Cheese Spaetzle, Pomme Frites, Brussels Sprouts at The Pantry
My Take: In retrospect, I probably should have typed “See the entire Starters menu at The Pantry.”

Crawfish Dip with Fried Wontons at Skinny J’s
Crab Au Gratin at Cajun’s Wharf

Skillet Bread, Fried Chicken Livers, Pork Rinds, Fried Oysters or Smoked Oysters at South On Main
My Take: South on Main got a ton of love on this post, as it should, the appetizers are all fantastic. But my personal favorite is the Fried Oyster Steamed Bun, which is listed below.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip at Saddle Creek Grill
Cheese Fries at Rebel Kettle

Pimento Cheese, Bread & Butter Plate, or Smoked Jalapeño Pimento Cheese, or Black Eyed Pea and Poblano Hummus at Lost Forty

Burgundy Mushrooms or Cheese Dip at Dizzy’s
Quail Lollipops, Poutine, or Foie Gras at Table 28

Fried Shrimp at Doe's

Fried Shrimp at Doe’s

 

Fried Shrimp or Tamales at Doe’s Eat Place
Grilled Oysters, Meat Pies, BBQ Nachos, or Truffle Fries at Maddie’s Place

Fried Black Eyed Peas or Spiced Pecans at Capital Bar and Grill
My Take: Those spiced pecans are crazy addictive and an absolute must-get on any visit to CBG.

Spicy Pimento Cheese with Soft Pita Chips at Taziki’s Mediterranean Café
The Caprese at Deluca’s

Shrimp Tchoupitoulas, Rose’s Hot Red Pepper Shrimp, Stuffed Mushrooms, Rose’s Fries, Fried Artichoke Hearts, Fried Green Tomatoes, or Cajun Popcorn at The Faded Rose
My Take: Good gracious was TFR mentioned a lot on this thread. All great choices, but give me those wedge fries with the buttermilk dressing any day.

Baba Ganoush at Layla's

Baba Ganoush at Layla’s

 

Onion Rings or Fried Green Tomatoes at Cotham’s in the City
Cheesesteak Egg Rolls at Del Frisco’s Grille
Crab Cakes at Sonny Williams’ Steak Room
Yellowtail or Hamachi Nigiri at Kemuri
Burrata at Raduno
Cheese Fries or Quesadilla at Buffalo Grill
Hummus or Baba Ganoush at Layla’s
Hummus with Pita Bread at Mama’s Gyros Grill
Fried Mozzarella Sticks at Dugan’s Pub

Baked Pimento Cheese at Boulevard Bistro
My Take: I’ve written about this appetizer several times in the past and it really is a unique and delicious spin on a Little Rock classic.

Fried Gulf Oysters or Crispy Chicken Livers at Red Door
Calamari Fries, Tuna Tataki, Spinach Dip, Queso Fundido, or Hot Crab Dip at Trio’s
Salsa Trio at Local Lime
Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp at Samantha’s Tap Room and Wood Grill
Tamale Pie at Heights Taco & Tamale Co.
State Fair Fries (with Side of Jalapeño Ranch) at Big Orange
Crab Stuffed Artichoke at Capers
Tortilla Soup at Casa Manana
Heirloom Tomato Plate, Goat Cheese Moouse or Baked Camembert at Brave New Restaurant
Cheese Dip at Reno’s Argenta Cafe
Ceviche Tostadas at El Porton
Crab Cake at One Eleven at the Capital
Grilled Meatballs and Stuffed Eggplant at Ristorante Capeo
Bread and Butter at Bruno’s Little Italy
Fried Portobello Slices or Shrimp & Brie Quesadillas with Mango Salsa at Loca Luna

Leeks at One Eleven

Leeks at One Eleven

 

Falafel, Tabouleh, Hummus, or Baba Ghanouj at Zam Zam Grill
My Take: I’ve heard good things about this place, probably time to check it out.

Cheese Dip at Riviera Maya
Calamari at Zaffino’s
Tuna Tataki at Hanaroo
Fried Green Tomatoes at The Main Cheese

My Personal Favs
Smoked Trout Nachos at Flyway Brewing
Chicken Nachos at El Palenque
Ceviche at Local Lime
Pupusas at Rosalindas
Fried Oyster Steamed Buns or Cauliflower Popcorn at South on Main
Fried Yuca at La Terraza Rum & Lounge
Pimento Cheese (Toast) or Radishes at The Root
Ceviche at Kemuri
Leeks at One Eleven at the Capital
Triple Dipper at Baja Grill

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Hitting Up David’s Burgers, The Wunderbus, Doe’s, and Baja Grill

Tacos at Baja Grill

Tacos at Baja Grill

 

Random thoughts and ramblings on local food and drink…

I love David’s Burgers just as much as the next guy. Heck, it’s definitely in the discussion for top 3 burgers in town, but can they ease up on the salt shaker at the WLR location? My chicken burger, which also now seems like a thinner patty (meaning: less meat), was way over-seasoned. Don’t get me wrong, I ate every bite, but I spent the rest of the night sucking down water like I was wandering around a desert. That said, the fries, which I’ve never been blown away with, were the best I’ve ever had at David’s. The crispy, not-so-greasy exterior will get you excited about them being all-you-can-eat. Per usual, the service at David’s was stellar.

How can you not like Doe’s Eat Place? Just walking into the place feels like a warm Little Rock hug. Last Friday, my two tablemates and I split a 3-pound Porterhouse cooked medium rare, which includes all of the fixings (dipping toast, fries, and soaked salad). We also polished off some Delta-style tamales with chili. The steak was excellent, especially the filet side, and although it wasn’t the best version I’ve had at Doe’s, it did have that signature crust and perfectly cooked medium-rare interior. And the sides? I could eat a large tub of the soaked soaked if it was socially acceptable, and the fries and bread are the ideal vehicles for meat-juice dipping. Once again, Doe’s proves that solid food, reasonable prices, and excellent service are the keys to longevity in the Little Rock market.

Enough about the old go-to’s like Doe’s and David’s. Have you checked out the still new-ish food truck called The Wunderbus (Wayfaring Germanic Cuisine)? I caught them while wandering around the Cornbread Festival and was blown away by The Floki, a pork/beef meatball sandwich with a rich, mushroom/onion/tomato sauce on a Sidney & Sons French bun. Simply put, the sandwich ($12) was absolutely fantastic, so good, in fact, that I returned 10 minutes later to order another one because my kids wolfed down the first sandwich. I’ve been on record as saying our food truck scene in this area is currently way down. Several trucks have folded and the ones that are left often lack creativity. Not The Wunderbus. Much like The Southern Gourmasian, this is a food truck to get genuinely excited about. The food comes out in a timely manner, is fun, creative, different, and above all … delicious. Follow them on Facebook to see where they’ll be next.

It’s been too damn long since my last visit to Baja Grill in the Heights. Remember when everyone was saying that location was jinxed? Seems like Baja has put that ridiculous notion to rest. And they do it with a simple menu, comprised predominately of tacos and burritos. Per usual, I ordered one each of the Cuban and Pig Sooie tacos, the latter being a non-traditional offering of pork, barbeque sauce, and pickled red onions … all resting on two, white corn tortillas. Each taco is $4.50 and you can add a side of rice and beans for $2.25. Part of me just wishes it would come as a complete plate and just charge me $11.25 for the entire shebang … but I get why they structure the menu this way. Anyways, we sat on the patio and enjoyed some of this wonderful summer/fall weather.

Quick Hits: The sausage and cheese kolaches at the Shipley’s on Shackleford are my favorite in town. I wish we have more options, but for now, these will do. I had an hour to kill the other night, so I headed over to Heights Taco & Tamale Co. for a $5 happy hour frozen margarita. It hit the spot. Why do I continue to eat Kroger sushi? It’s overpriced and woefully below average, but it still has a once-a-month hold on me. Boulevard still serves the best cup of coffee in town, but Honey Pies, The Root, and Trio’s (they use dark roast Westrock) are also excellent options, just to name a few.

 

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The Absolutely Definitive 30 Best Seafood Dishes in Little Rock

Shrimp a la Plancha at El Palenque

Shrimp a la Plancha at El Palenque

 

Even though Arkansas is a landlocked state, good seafood can be had here in Little Rock. You just need to know where to find it. Here is a nice rundown of my top seafood dishes in the area that I’ve eaten over the past 3+ years.

Shrimp a la Plancha at El Palenque
Here’s a little secret you may or may not know… Chef David Martinez is one of the best cooks in the city. Judging by the always packed restaurant, you do know. Order the Shrimp a la Plancha, a beautiful plate of grilled shrimp and onions with refried beans, rice, and avocado.

Thin Fish at The Faded Rose
If you are a lover of fried catfish, I just don’t think you will find any better than what The Faded Rose is cranking out with this super thin, fried-to-perfection version.

Black Cod Sarafina at The Terrace

Black Cod Samfaina at The Terrace

Black Cod Samfaina at The Terrace
A beautiful piece of pan-seared cod is accompanied by a deliciously salty ragu of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and onions.

Tasman Glazed Salmon at Trio's

Tasman Glazed Salmon at Trio’s

Specials at Trio’s
It’s really difficult to narrow it down to one dish, so I’ll just recommend that you keep an eye on Trio’s rotating fish specials. I recently had the glazed salmon, which was amazing, as was my cioppini, a bowl of mixed seafood of scallops, mussels, grouper, and shrimp.

Catfish at South on Main

Catfish at South on Main

Catfish at South on Main
The first thing I ever at South on Main, this seared catfish is still a staple on every seasonal menu. Chef Bell is a master at pairing it with other ingredients, making this fairly light dish a must-order.

Salmon at The Pantry Crest
When you look down at your plate of salmon with a side of asparagus, couscous, and spinach, you think “What the hell is so special about this dish?” And then you take a bite of the most perfectly cooked, simply seasoned salmon in town … and it all makes sense.

Crawfish Etouffee at The Faded Rose

Crawfish Etouffee at The Faded Rose

Crawfish Etouffee at The Faded Rose
A hearty portion of mildly spicy, slightly thickened, blond roux with a plentiful supply of small crawfish tails is topped with a pile of seasoned rice.

Bouillabaisse at Boulevard Bistro

Bouillabaisse at Boulevard Bistro

Bouillabaisse at Boulevard Bistro
Check to make sure it’s on the menu, as I think they rotate the bouillabaisse in and out. This dish is a seafood lover’s paradise.

Walleye at Brave New Restaurant
It’s been a few years for me, but I do remember the walleye being quite delicious and a signature Little Rock dish. To not include it on this list would be a travesty. Well, that’s a little dramatic, but you know what I mean.

Fried Shrimp at Doe's

Fried Shrimp at Doe’s

Fried Shrimp at Doe’s
Doe’s does some pretty mean fried shrimp. The soft, lightly fried crust is what I enjoy most about these jumbo-sized bad boys.

Red Fish at Maddie's Place

Red Fish at Maddie’s Place

Redfish at Maddie’s Place
I love red fish. Maddie’s seared red fish with garlic grits, green beans and crawfish etouffee sauce is as beautiful as it is tasty.

Ensalada del Sol at Heights Taco & Tamale

Ensalada del Sol at Heights Taco & Tamale

Ensalada del Sol at Heights Taco & Tamale
This beautifully presented salad includes skewers of medium-sized, well-seasoned shrimp resting atop a bed of crisp, chopped romaine lettuce. Perfectly ripe slices of avocado and mango sit on the edges.

Shrimp Soup at Rosalinda's

Shrimp Soup at Rosalinda’s

Shrimp Soup at Rosalinda’s
Admittedly, the actual shrimp in this dish are average at best, but they impart such a wonderful flavor to the broth, making it a must-order on any visit to Rosalinda.

Shrimp and Grits at Ciao Baci

Shrimp and Grits at Ciao Baci

Shrimp and Grits at Ciao Baci
Ciao Baci’s version of shrimp and grits isn’t on the regular menu, so keep an eye out of it. Chef Owen uses top-notch shrimp, which make all of the difference.

Scallops at One Eleven

Scallops at One Eleven

Scallops at One Eleven
I rarely order scallops in Little Rock, but One Eleven has an excellent supplier, so if you’re hankering for some sweetness of the sea, this is it.

Green Shrimp Curry at kBird

Green Shrimp Curry at kBird

Green Shrimp Curry at kBird
Sweet, a little sour, and a tad spicy … the green shrimp curry really has it all to ignite your taste buds.

Shrimp Diablo at El Palenque

Shrimp Diablo at El Palenque

Shrimp Diablo at El Palenque
This dish is probably the spiciness plate I’ve ordered while living in Little Rock. That said, I’m a little bit of a wimp, but if you like hot, order the Shrimp Diablo.

Shrimp and Grits at The Faded Rose

Shrimp and Grits at The Faded Rose

Shrimp and Grits at The Faded Rose
Much like the delicious crawfish etouffee, TFR’s shrimp and grits features a delicious blond roux and plump, perfectly cooked shrimp.

Sushi at Kemuri

Sushi at Kemuri

Sushi at Kemuri
Any of Kemuri’s numerous sushi rolls are a hit. Like its sister restaurant, Oceans, if you’re in the mood for the best sushi in town, expect to find it at either of these two spots.

Tilapia Assada at Bossa Nova

Tilapia Assada at Bossa Nova

Tilapia Assada at Bossa Nova
I know most folks are down on tilapia right now, but Bossa Nova’s version, a pan-seared piece of fish with basil pesto, is pretty damn good.

Fried Catfish at Flying Fish
It’s Little Rock … you know I had to mention fried catfish a few times on this list. Like most everything at Flying Fish, the catfish is consistently good.

Crispy Squid Filet (or Calamari Snitzel) at Table 28
Tender, meaty strips of squid filet are beer-battered, fried, and then served with cocktail sauce. This is not your run-of-the-mill calamari.

Shrimp Tacos at Baja Grill

Shrimp Tacos at Baja Grill

Shrimp Tacos at Baja Grill
The shrimp tacos aren’t necessarily my first choice when dining at Baja Grill (Pig Sooey is), but that’s not to say they aren’t great. They are … mainly because the shrimp are a tad blackened and a little spicy.

Citrus Tuna Ceviche at Local Lime
This redesigned ceviche at Local Lime includes chunks of Ahi tuna, avocado, along with cucumber, lime, cilantro, and a ginger citrus jalapeno vinaigrette.

Boiled Crawfish at The Faded Rose

Boiled Crawfish at The Faded Rose

Boiled Crawfish at The Faded Rose
Hey, it’s crawfish season (until about mid-late May). On Wednesday nights starting at 4 p.m. (and until they run out), you can grab yourself a platter of the mud bugs. Just make sure to order a beer, as they tend to be spicy, but in a good way.

Buffalo Ribs at Lassis Inn

Buffalo Ribs at Lassis Inn

Buffalo Ribs at Lassis Inn
Eating Buffalo ribs at Lassis Inn is something every Little Rocker should do at least once in their life. This bottom-dweller fish is definitely an acquired taste, but if you enjoy yourself a meaty, hearty fish rib, these are for you.

Grilled Oysters at South on Main
Oysters, check. Butter, check. Parmesan cheese, check. What’s not to love?

Stock Pot at The Pantry
This dish is changing constantly, but no worries, it’s only a matter of if it will be “really good” or “great.” Delicate white fish, broth, and root veggies often provide the foundation of one of my all-time fav Pantry dishes. Keep an eye out as I don’t see this dish currently on the menu at either restaurant.

Mama Chi's Spicy Fish at Chi's

Mama Chi’s Spicy Fish at Chi’s

Mama Chi’s Spicy Fish at Chi’s
Delicate pieces of white fish rest in a thick and spicy sauce, making Mama Chi’s Spicy Fish a must-order each time I’m at this Chi’s location.

Shrimp Po’boy at Table 28
This po’boy doesn’t get near the attention as some of the other around town, but it’s just as good. Chef Rains loads it with fried shrimp, kale slaw, and pickled peppers.

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The Around Town Round-Up

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Little Rock’s food scene is at an all-time high. With it, comes an increase in writing on blogs, publications and social media. This is a good thing. These insights and opinions get people talking, helping lead to a stronger food community. The Around Town Round-Up grabs links from a variety of sources throughout the city, putting them all in one post for your reading pleasure. So, let’s get to it.

I was watching television the other morning and saw Julianne Bitely talking food. This is her “Holistic Health and Nutrition” blog. Check it out.

Are you up for some of the biggest food challenges in Central Arkansas? If so, go to Sync Weekly for a full rundown of what’s out there (I’ll even be witnessing one of these this weekend).

Restaurant reviewer connoisseur Emily Van Zandt takes on One Eleven.

Steve Shuler has the first look at Good Food by Ferneau and Butcher & Public.

You know who’s back? Daniel Walker, that’s who. Here’s a look at his latest installment of Cheers and Jeers. He’s doing more cheering than jeering this time around.

Looking for ways to use apples in your baking? Lee Hogan has you covered.

Joel DiPippa gives you his views (including Best Bar, Best Bartender, and Best Happy Hour) in this in-depth “Toast of the Town” post. What’s your favorite bar in town?

This one is a few months old…but what a great read on Rex Nelson’s Southern Fried.

Chef Matt McClure is very good at his job. Don’t believe me? Check out this post from Kat Robinson.

In my latest installment of Around the Rock, I take a look at Baja Grill, Mylo Coffee, Co., South on Main and Little Greek.

Down in Hot Springs, Louis Williams (Next Level) gives you the skinny on Pupuseria Mi Chalateca.

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