Thoughts on my recent dining out experiences around Little Rock…

My second visit to the new-ish Petit & Keet was as impressive as the first. It was also nice to see a full house on a Thursday evening as our table of four was delighted by dishes like the scallops, bison burger, mussels, wedge salad and hot chicken sandwich. My perfectly cooked bison burger really stood out, especially the crispy exterior of the patty. It was one of the Specials for the evening and I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again. Cocktails, wine, and service were all on-point, and the overall vibe of the restaurant was inviting. Early signs point to Petit & Keet as being a wonderful addition to the growing WLR food scene. I do, however, feel the overall menu plays it a little safe with its offerings, so I’m hoping some more creative, slightly adventurous dishes find their way onto the menu in the future.

I’ve lived in Little Rock for five years and last night was my first time at Buffalo Grill. Crazy, I know. Overall, it was a mixed bag. I loved the rustic, downhome atmosphere and quick service, but my order of chicken tenders, which tasted and resembled like something you’d get from the frozen section at the grocery store, was terrible. On a positive note, bites of the cheeseburger and fresh-cut fries were met with favorable results. Those two items, along with the fast and attentive service, are what will bring me back to the restaurant. It doesn’t hurt that my kid loved the place, and I can already hear her requesting a return trip. Buffalo Grill … I’m pleading with you to make hand-battered tenders. This town would love them.

El Palenque is our best taqueria in town. There … I said it. Actually, I’ve probably said that 100 times in the past. If you’re looking for something a little different, order the huaraches with pastor. This thicker corn tortilla is fried and then topped with the marinated pork, refried beans, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, and sour cream. It’s $6 of pure joy, and if you’re not a fan of pork, you can get the huarache with any of El Palenque’s selection of meats. My wife got the carnitas, and although the pork wasn’t crisped up on the grill top, it was unbelievably tender and juicy. This dish is insanely good. Make sure you order it.

I’ve been touting Table 28’s awesome Happy Hour (Monday-Friday, 4-6:30pm) as one of the more underrated hidden food and drink gems in Little Rock. Last Friday, my table enjoyed our vodka tonics, house wine, and orders of shishito peppers, fries, tuna poke, and street tacos. This Happy Hour is a fun, affordable way to start an evening, or, if you’re old like me…end it.

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