Oh, that often overshadowed side dish—always taking a back seat to the main entrée. But make no mistake, a great side dish can be memorable in its own right. In Little Rock, we certainly have our fair share of fantastic options. Here are my Top 10 Side Dishes (in no particular order):
Lentil Salad from Hillcrest Artisan Meats
At H.A.M., you have the choice of chips or the lentil salad with your sandwich. I always go with the lentils. In fact, if you ever see me not going with them, permission is granted to drop-kick me in the nuts. Subtle amounts of ingredients like red onion, parsley and olive oil make this dish a perfect companion to any of their sandwiches.
Brussels Sprouts from Table 28
Table 28 is able to take their Brussels sprouts right to the edge of deep fried disaster without falling over the cliff. The end product yields a ton of crispy, charred leaves that eat almost like popcorn.
Braised Red Cabbage from The Pantry
Sweet and slightly tangy, The Pantry’s braised red cabbage is the perfect accompaniment to several dishes at the restaurant. Order a side bowl and watch it disappear within minutes.
Mango Carrot Slaw from The Fold
This seasonal dish has such fresh flavors, along with bright and vibrant colors. Beautiful strings of mango and carrot sit in a bowl with oranges and springs of cilantro. What’s not to love?
Wedge Fries from The Faded Rose
Technically, this is an appetizer…but dammit, this is my list and The Faded Rose’s wedge fries are just too good not to mention. Super thick and fried to perfection, these fries are best dipped in ranch dressing…then ketchup.
Mashed Potatoes from Table 28
Yes, Table 28 is the only restaurant with two representatives on this list…and for good reason. The mashed potatoes laced with Boursin cheese and buttermilk, then piped into a bowl, are borderline magical. I unashamedly almost polished off an entire bowl by myself the other night.
Wrinkled Green Beans from Chi’s
Chi’s (on Markham) is my favorite overall Chinese restaurant in Little Rock and these green beans always find their way onto our table, right next to a plate of beef chow fun and Hunan beef.
Sweet Potatoes from Brewsters 2
All of the sides at Brewsters are wonderful, but I especially enjoy the thick-cut chucks of buttery sweet potatoes. Add some fried catfish and the purple hull peas to the mix and just call it a day.
Grilled Veggies from Milford Track
I will never know how Kay from Milford Track gets an assortment of mixed veggies to taste so fabulous, but she does…and you’d be wise to order them with some of her fresh, handmade pasta.
Eggplant Casserole from Franke’s
Did you really think I’d leave this iconic Little Rock dish off my list? Hells no. Eggplant, bread crumbs, tomatoes and an assortment of other ingredients meld into a vat of goodness that’s both hideous to the eye and sheer ecstasy to the taste buds.
These were my absolute favorite sides dishes in Little Rock…but I also heard from you! Here are some reader suggestions:
Truffle Fries from Big Orange (multiple votes), Andouille goat cheese grits from Trio’s, Onion Rings from Cotham’s, Creamed Greens from South on Main, Roasted Red Potatoes from The Pantry, Gnocchi from Natchez, Greens from Gus’s, Sweet Potato Fries from Big Orange, Brussels Sprouts from E’s Bistro, Eggplant Fries from The Root Café (multiple votes), Drunken Beans and Rice from Local Lime, Bleu Cheese Slaw from Maddie’s Place, Greens from Sims, Broccoli Salad from Palette Catering and Cheese Grits and Tuscan Beans from Red Door.
Did we miss any? If so, please let us know in the comment box below!