Sometimes it’s easy to forget about Doe’s greatness. The restaurant is practically a Little Rock landmark and the folks over there have been churning out good food for what feels like forever. I say all of this because my in-laws were in town last week for my father-in-law’s birthday, and I thought Doe’s would be the perfect spot to celebrate such an occasion.
Turns out, I was right.
The Doe’s first-timers absolutely loved it … and for good reason. Doe’s brought its A-game on Saturday evening.
We arrived at 5:30 p.m., a wise move because I forget to reserve a 3-pound Porterhouse the night before. Arriving later without a steak reservation (especially on a Friday or Saturday night) puts you at risk of missing out on a beef extravaganza. Aside from the steak, I ordered the group of six a dozen fried shrimp and tamales, each, as appetizers.
While the Delta-style tamales, which come with a bowl of mildly-flavored chili, get all of the attention, the fried shrimp are where it’s at. Plump and lightly fried, these delicious crustaceans come hanging around a bowl with accompanying tartar sauce. There’s even a small pile of French fries on the side. Doe’s isn’t stingy with its French fries. If you ever want more, they seem more than happy to pile on an additional amount.
We polished off the shrimp within a few minutes, then focused our attention on the soaked salad, an item, along with the potatoes, Texas toast, and fries, that comes with the steak. The salad is a simple one–iceberg lettuce drenched in dressing and mixed with bits of tomato and red onion–but it’s this simplicity that contributes to the addictive nature of the dish. In short, I could eat a trough of Doe’s soaked salad and be a happy man. Such an act, however, would leave no room for the steak. That would be a mistake.
When our Porterhouse, the feature presentation of the evening, hit the table, I couldn’t get my camera phone out fast enough. It was a true beauty, covering the entire plate and stacked high with fries. Broiled under high temps and served up sizzling, the steak comes already resting in a pool of its own meat juice. This liquid is just begging to become friends with the fries and toast. The strip side of the Porterhouse comes to the table already sliced, an appreciated move given the family-style eating nature of the evening.
While we requested the steak to be cooked medium rare, it definitely fell in the Rare + range. No one at the table seemed to care. In fact, after we consumed all of the tender, juicy, buttery meat from both the strip and filet sides, my mother-in-law picked up the remaining bone and started gnawing on it like a rabid dog. This is a woman who typically eats like a bird.
I’ve never seen my in-laws so happy, and that includes the day their daughter married this fine gentleman.
The perfect Doe’s experience tends to bring such joy.
And the best part? I already know where I’m taking them on their next visit.