Posts Tagged The Faded Rose
Admittedly, I order steak in a restaurant about twice a year. Don’t get me wrong, I love steak, but it always seems like such an extravagance, and I tend to opt for pork, chicken, or fish. But enough about me.
Here’s the question I posted on The Mighty Rib Facebook page:
“What is your favorite restaurant steak in the Little Rock area?”
We had exactly 100 comments, with more than 25 different restaurants being mentioned. Please, take this very informal poll with a grain of salt. Some of the comments were from either restaurant employees or family members from the actual restaurants. Rather than treat this post as an end all, be all, please look at it as a nice resource for quality restaurant steak options in our area.
The Faded Rose, Doe’s Eat Place, and Arthur’s all finished at the top, with each restaurant receiving 13 mentions. This comes as no surprise … all three places have been around forever and do an amazing job. Personally, these are also my top steak spots. The 3-lb Porterhouse at Doe’s is still the best steak I’ve eaten in Little Rock, and the blackened rib-eye at The Faded Rose, and Australian Wagyu filet at Arthur’s aren’t far behind.
Maddie’s Place, Riverfront Steakhouse, Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, and Trio’s led the second tier of voting. Here’s what some of the commenters had to say … From A.B. Naylor, “Maddies Place when there’s a strip on. He can do medium-rare like nobody’s business.” And from Amy Bradley-Hole, “Any answer other than Maddie’s Place is incorrect.”
The next tier of vote-getters comprised of several restaurants with about the same number of mentions. These include: The Butcher Shop, Loca Luna, South on Main, YaYa’s, Red Door, Table 28, Saddle Creek Woodfired Grill, The 1836 Club, SO Restaurant-Bar, Black Angus, Cache, Toad Suck Buck’s!, Cheers in the Heights, The Pantry, and Samantha’s. Even chains like Texas Roadhouse, Del Frisco’s, and Longhorn got mentioned. A few other personal favorites that weren’t mentioned, include: Lulu’s Latin Rotisserie and Grill, Ciao Baci, and Kemuri.
Thank you to everyone who participated…we’ll try to do one of these each week for the immediate future. I’ll leave you with some more reader comments…
Pam Smith: “YaYa’s has an awesome filet that is free when it’s your birthday. But if I’m paying, it’s Red Door ribeye on Wednesday night! Best steak for my hard earned money.
Claudia Fields: “Doe’s for Porterhouse and Riverfront for filet….they are both one of our favorite places to take out-of- town visitors.”
Courtney Bennett: “The Red Door filet is consistently perfect. South on Main does a fantastic rib-eye.”
Mario Montenegro: “I’m actually surprised that no one has mentioned SO Restaurant-Bar. Steaks there are always spot on, never disappoints!”
Mary Johnson: “I had a great steak at Cache Friday night.”
John Keller: “So far the best steak I’ve had here is from Arthur’s. The two other best steaks I’ve had were from Sonny Williams and Doe’s.”
Ryan Phillips: “Sonny Williams and it’s not close.”
Cindy Scott-Huisman: “I always love the filet mignon at Faded Rose!”
Thoma Thacker: “Nobody mentioned Black Angus. It’s definitely not black tie, but back when I used to go, their ribeye was the best! Plus the green beans were always seasoned perfectly.”
Popular restaurants often make their mark by having certain dishes that build a steady following. But I’ve always been fascinated by some of the lesser known, under the radar dishes that give a menu variety and depth. Here are my 20 Underrated Dishes at 20 Popular Restaurants…
House Made Ricotta at The Pantry: The bacon-wrapped dates, meat board, and deviled eggs get all of the attention when it comes to starters at The Pantry, but do not hesitate to order this creamy ricotta. It’s simple but delicious, and I’m guessing is the only house-made version in town.
Pork Loin at Maddie’s Place: We’ve all got our go-to dish at Maddie’s Place … fried chicken, catfish po’boys, shrimp and grits, bbq shrimp….you name it. But the pork loin with sweet potato hash and butter soaked Brussels sprouts, all in a house-made Worcestershire sauce, is insanely good. And it never gets any attention. Pro tip, don’t go to Maddie’s if you’re counting calories.
Eggplant Parm at Capeo: It’s not the best dish at Capeo, but this hearty portion of eggplant Parm is about half the price ($19) as most other entrees and is delicious. If you can resist the Duck Valentine or the pork chop, the eggplant Parm is a great option.
Meatloaf at Table 28: Who in their right mind orders meatloaf at one of the swankiest restaurants in town? My wife does. Thankfully, she gave me a few bites and I can tell you that it’s pretty damn good. The meatloaf is served with a side of asparagus and mashed potatoes, and, like all dishes at Table 28, is beautifully presented.
Mama Chi’s Spicy Fish at Chi’s: This dish is served at the Shackleford location, and it’s one I’ve been touting for a few years. The delicate white fish is light and packs a flavor punch … especially if you are one who enjoys spicy food.
Israeli Couscous with Romaine at South on Main: This is really just a general plug for all of Chef (and former vegetarian) Matt Bell’s vegetarian options at South on Main. Most of them are outstanding, but fall under the radar, due in large part to more popular, meat-centric dishes like catfish, duck, rabbit, and steak.
Blackened Ribeye at The Faded Rose: When most folks (ok…at least some) think of TFR, red beans and rice, shrimp and grits, and fried catfish po’boys come to mind. But for the money, you might not find a better steak in town than their blackened ribeye.
Fried Shrimp at Doe’s Eat Place: Speaking of steak, when you go to Doe’s, it is absolutely essential to order a 3-lb Porterhouse (medium rare). And while the tamales get all of the attention as a pre-steak appetizer, the jumbo fried shrimp are the better option. The breading is thick and the seasoning is sparse, but that’s ok, because dunking each one into the tartar sauce makes up for any inadequacies.
Greens at Gus’s: This only applies to the downtown location, as I’m not a fan of the WLR venue. Anyways, while it does have its fair share of detractors, the downtown Gus’s has very good fried chicken … and greens. The chicken gets all the attention, but the greens are also a must-order.
Leeks at One Eleven: The yellowfin tuna tartare is a popular meal starter, but the meager leek might be the way to go at One Eleven. Or hell, order both. The warm leeks are paired with pecans and bleu cheese.
San Francisco Cioppino at Trio’s: Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Peck Salad just as much as the next guy, but the seafood at Trio’s is very underrated. Try the Cioppino, which is loaded with sea bass, mussels, clams, shrimp, and scallops. Just note, many dishes rotate in and out of the menu at Trio’s, and the Cioppino is one of them.
BLT Wedge at Big Orange (both locations): Big Orange is a burger dining destination for most folks, but I go for the salads, and while I typically order the more popular Thai Chop, my daughter opts for the underrated BLT Wedge. Now, I know what you’re thinking … wedge salads are so boring. Not Big Orange’s version, and it’s just as beautiful as it is tasty.
Chicken Caldo at El Palenque: I believe this is a Saturday only dish, so don’t get all pissy with me if you go on Friday night and it’s not available. But if you happen to be at El Palenque on a Saturday, get it. There’s probably damn near half a chicken hiding in that large bowl of head-cold-curing chicken broth.
Chef Salad at Vino’s: You know all of those awesome toppings that the fine folks at Vino’s put on their pizzas? Well, they also put them in a bowl … over lettuce … with your choice of ham, turkey, or chicken, and it’s a great alternative to pizza.
Thai Chicken Burger at The Southern Gourmasian: The steamed buns and spicy chicken and dumplings get all of the attention, as they rightfully should, but do not pass up the Thai Chicken Burger at The Southern Gourmasian. How they get ground chicken to taste so juicy is beyond me. It’s one of my favorite burgers in town. And yes, chicken can be a burger.
Beef Tenderloin at Kemuri: It’s hard not order that fancy, flaming sushi roll at Kemuri. In a town starving for quality sushi, this restaurant provides a good option. But damn, the beef tenderloin with onion rings is a must-order. And this is coming from a guy who doesn’t get too excited over steak.
Meatball Sandwich at Raduno: The pizza, for obvious reasons, gets a lot of play at Raduno, but you also might want to consider splitting a meatball hero with a buddy. Tack on a Caesar salad for good measure. It’s pretty damn good, too.
Cheese Pizza at Layla’s: The Yogurt Plate or even a basic gryo are probably the two most popular dishes at Layla’s, but if you enjoy a nice, basic pizza, order the cheese pie. It’s something like $5 or $6 and is loaded with mozzarella. The pizza is no frills, but definitely one of the best values around.
Squash Blossom Veggie Sandwich at Hillcrest Artisan Meats: Going vegetarian at H.A.M.?!?!! Hear me out. I’m not saying this is an every-visit-kinda-sandwich, but if you’re looking for a change of pace, consider the very underrated Squash Blossom. This sandwich includes alfalfa sprouts, avocado, red onions, pepper jack, and tomatoes.
Taro Chips at Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co.: Sweet, salty, and wildly addictive … a bag of taro chips to go with an order of dumplings is an absolute must.
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 Samfaina at The Terrace
A beautiful piece of pan-seared cod is accompanied by a deliciously salty ragu of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and onions.
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
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
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
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
Doe’s does some pretty mean fried shrimp. The soft, lightly fried crust is what I enjoy most about these jumbo-sized bad boys.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Much like the delicious crawfish etouffee, TFR’s shrimp and grits features a delicious blond roux and plump, perfectly cooked shrimp.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
The subject of chicken and dumplings came up last week on Facebook, so I figured we needed a working list of places around town that offer this Southern comfort dish. Thank you to everyone who chimed in with some of the suggestions below.
Franke’s – These are available on Thursday at the downtown location and on Thursday and Saturday at the WLR location. I’ve had them a time or two, and while they won’t exactly blow your socks off, this version is simple, very traditional, and will scratch that C&D itch.
The Faded Rose – Just walk into TFR during a Friday lunch and you’ll see almost every table with an order of chicken and dumplings on it. These C&D’s have a thicker base with rolled dumplings and bits of carrots. They are quite good, and again, only available on Friday.
The Southern Gourmasian – The spicy chicken and dumplings at TSG are about as untraditional as it gets, but possibly the best version in town. Packed rice cakes serve as the dumplings in this spicy dish. Available during all lunch, dinner and brunch services.
Catering to You – I THINK they are available on Tuesdays, but you have to call to reserve. I’ve never had these C&D’s but one of the readers vouches for its goodness.
Trio’s – These C&D’s are available on Thursday during lunch and possibly on the Friday lunch service (if they don’t sell out on Thursday). I’ve had them once…and from what I can remember, they were a very traditional, no frills, rolled dumplings concoction.
Dixie Café – These damn C&D’s are all over Dixie Cafe’s menu … as a soup, lightning lunch, or main course. They certainly won’t blow you away, but much like Franke’s, sometimes you just need that C&D fix.
Maddie’s Place – Currently on the lunch and dinner services, these chicken and dumplings are crazy good. A thinner than normal base, rolled dumplings, tender chicken, and a subtle spiciness are the defining characteristics of Maddie’s version.
Sandy’s – I have no clue what they taste like, but I’m about to remedy that this Wednesday. Btw … they are only available at Sandy’s on Wednesday.
Cheers in the Heights – It looks like both for lunch and dinner … but don’t quote me on that.
South on Main – The picture above is actually of the veggie and dumplins at South on Main, which are not on the current menu. That’s how desperate I was for a good pic … I had to use one that isn’t even available. Anyways, I’ve yet to try it, but SoM does actually have a roasted chicken breast with dumplins on its current dinner menu.
Andina Cafe – Apparently, Andina Cafe offers chicken and dumplings on Wednesdays, although I can’t confirm this.
Cotham’s – Tuesday is the day for C&D’s at Cotham’s in the City.
Home Plate Diner – HPD out in Bryant offers chicken and dumplings on Thursdays.