Posts Tagged lamb

She Said, He Said: Leo’s Greek Castle

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Monthly Feature, By Becca Bona and Kevin Shalin
Becca and Kevin will check out a local restaurant, each at different times, and then write separate reviews. This month, it’s Leo’s Greek Castle.

Becca’s Take
Leo’s is that place you take your out-of-town-friend to when you’re trying to enjoy Hillcrest and all the neighborhood has to offer. Maybe you stop in for lunch, planning to enjoy the coveted patio, or you make dinner plans, knowing you will take full advantage of the $0.75 PBR. Either way, you know you’re getting a bit of a hole-in-the-wall vibe that comes with the food your cravings are made of.

Food-wise, Leo’s isn’t exactly a front, as in, it’s not an authentic Grecian restaurant. Think more street-food, diner-esque – delectably greasy but completely satisfying.

I stopped in on a slow Monday night for dinner, and I had my mind made up on at least two of the three items I would order: The Leo Burger and the Gyros Sandwich.

The Leo’s Burger is an unexpected gem, as in, it’s a serious underrated dish in the Rock. You get a chargrilled 10 oz. burger with American cheese and all the fixings – (which is a lot – so bring your appetite), all for less than $10. This dish embodies all the nostalgic goodness of a grilled burger from a family gathering while repping that diner vibe. Likely, it’s exactly what the doctor ordered for your hair-of-the-dog.

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On to the Gyros. There are plenty of places in Rock City where you can get a decent Gyros Sandwich with lamb, but Leo’s stands out. It’s hard not to drool a bit when you’re biting into the meat, as it’s so juicy. Everything else is decent, but the lamb is the true star of the dish.

To round everything out, I decided I would try the Sampler Platter from the appetizers list. The hummus is alright and the dolmas are even better, but the place actually packs a punch with their baba ghannouj – which I was pleasantly surprised by.

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Ultimately, I’ll visit Leo’s again and again. They take all the American goodness of a homey diner and throw in Grecian influences. Leo’s might be Hillcrest’s most underrated neighborhood hang – especially when you consider the quality of their breakfast offerings (which deserves its own post), coveted patio, and $0.75 PBR.

 

Kevin’s Take
It’s probably been a few years since my last Leo’s visit, and quite frankly, that’s a shame because I remember the food being pretty good. But before I delve into the culinary aspect of my most recent visit, let me touch on the actual restaurant itself. It’s one notch above being a complete shit hole, but, that said, it’s an important notch. I love places with a ton of character and Leo’s has just that. Parking is at a minimum, as is outdoor and indoor seating, but one step inside and I can’t help but feel the place has that certain something. Anyways … it’s super casual, cozy, and a little quirky, but I like the atmosphere.

Let’s get to the food.

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My table of three ordered the onion rings, baba ghannouj appetizer, Leo Burger, Chicken Gyro Sandwich, and Falafel Sandwich. First things first, the onion rings were some of the best I’ve had in town. Thick, beer battered, slightly sweet, and not greasy, these rings were classic and delicious. I literally had to stop myself from eating the entire basket. The baba ghannouj appetizer was solid, but, honestly, I’ve had better in town. It was super creamy, but definitely needed more lemon juice. And while my falafel sandwich with fried chickpea patties, hummus, and veggies wrapped inside some warm pita were all delicious, the star of the table was my daughter’s Leo Burger.

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This damn thing is a burger’s burger. It’s greasy, it’s cheesy, and it’s sloppy, but damn if this double thin-patty monstrosity wasn’t absolutely fantastic. No offense to the chicken gyro or the falafel or the baba ghannouj, but the burger and rings stole the show.

We got out of there for about $37 (with tip) which was an excellent value, especially given the amount of food that hit the table. Service was great. I’m kicking myself for letting so much time pass between visits. With a top 5 burger and onion rings in Little Rock, I’ll be returning sooner rather than later.

Leo’s Greek Castle
2925 Kavanaugh Blvd
Hours: Monday-Saturday 7AM-9PM, Sunday 8AM-3PM
Phone: (501) 666-7414

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Lunchtime: The 411 on One Eleven

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While I typically keep my opinions about a new restaurant to myself for the first month of its existence, that’s not always a hard-and-fast rule, as in the case with One Eleven. You know One Eleven … it’s the new version of the old Ashley’s, formerly Little Rock’s most iconic restaurant located in the heart of the Capital Hotel.

I decided to check out the restaurant during one of last week’s lunchtime services. Here’s how things went…

Décor: The setting is now modern, but not overdone with flashy lighting, bright colors, and bold wall art, qualities you tend to see in many of the newer upscale restaurants. The décor is simple, yet elegant, with plenty of natural lighting from the expansive windows. Upon entering the restaurant, you’ll be blown away by the open bar, a feature that is sure to draw in customers. In short, a ton of time, money and effort went into this new look. It shows, and it works.

Service: No surprise here, the service at One Eleven is strong. An attentive wait staff was quick to deal with any and all issues throughout the entire meal. Our drinks were refilled with precision and the food came out in a timely manner–the latter will prove to be a critical element in appealing to prospective diners in search of a quick business lunch.

Food: Excellent. My halibut ($24), which was topped with a mild lemon basil sauce, was light, well-executed and absolutely beautiful. Tiny pillows of soft gnocchi rested on the firm, yet delicate fish, as did a variety of vegetables, including some delicious zephyr squash. One tablemate ordered the $16 Express Lunch (a daily chef’s choice selection of a starter, cheese, bread, soup, main course and dessert), which centered-around an entrée of hearty and rich Colorado lamb. The other opted for the the insanely tender and juicy roast chicken breast ($16), which proved to be the highlight of the meal.

Prices and Portions: Given the small portion size of the fish and a sparse amount of gnocchi, I’d say my halibut dish was definitely overpriced. I understand this isn’t an inexpensive fish, but the plate needs to be $5 cheaper or substantially larger if it wants to end up on more tables. The Express Lunch, with its solid value and adequate portions, allows patrons to really get a true taste of the restaurant’s menu, while the roast chicken breast is priced fairly.

Conclusion: One Eleven is off to a great start. High marks throughout our lunch have definitely motivated me to make a return lunchtime visit, as well as check out things during dinner.

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