Around the Rock: Brave New is Neither Brave Nor New, But It’s Still Great

My weekly views…

No surprise, the ever-popular Brave New Restaurant, a fixture in the Little Rock dining scene, still fills their dining room at night. And the kitchen continues to crank out excellent, albeit, somewhat uncreative dishes. My walleye, which rested alongside some glazed carrots, roasted potatoes and a squash canoe, was cooked to perfection and covered in Brave’s signature beurre blanc sauce. This sauce/fish combination was light, warm and pleasantly sweet. My wife’s mixed grill plate, a heavy assortment of meats (grilled pork tenderloin, medallion of beef, stuffed quail, and wild game sausage) covered with a herbed demi glaze, is still one of the most iconic and well-executed dishes in Little Rock. My biggest beef (for lack of a better expression) with Brave New is the lack of creativity and individuality with certain dishes. For example, the same potatoes and carrots were on both the walleye and mixed grill plates, and it would have been nice to see each protein paired with unique sides. All that said, the restaurant’s biggest asset is consistency, and in a town where many dining establishments lack it, Brave New has bottled it.

Kudos to the Southern Salt Food Company, which is now 2-for-2 in my book. The bbq veggie sandwich from an initial visit was fantastic, as was my recent cheesesteak sandwich at last week’s Westover Food Truck Meet-Up. Their unique spin on the classics has vaulted this relatively new food truck into the city’s upper echelon.

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Speaking of doing things right … have you had the bread from Arkansas Fresh Bakery? You can now find their delicious products at both the Hillcrest and Argenta farmers markets. The bread has also worked its way onto many of the restaurant menus throughout the city.

Igibon is so solid. The service is always friendly and the reasonably-priced sushi never disappoints. The fresh salmon is probably the best you’ll find in town.

Get the huevos diablo at The Southern Gourmasian and just thank me later. Seriously. I think it’s a special, but watch out for it, especially during the truck’s breakfast service at the Hillcrest Farmers Market.

And the news…

HT&T, the upcoming restaurant from Yellow Rocket Concepts (the ZAZA, Local Lime, Big Orange folks) is looking to hire talented individuals for kitchen positions. Persons should have a strong sense of work ethic, appreciate consistency in the restaurant setting, can lead by example and understand how importance of teaching/coaching the staff. Management experience isn’t necessary but would be helpful. Variety of staff positions available. Great opportunity down the road for anyone that gets their foot in the door. Email: maeve@bigorangeburger.com

With a focus on promoting and celebrating other chefs, South on Main introduces Chef Series. Their first event is scheduled for July 3 and will feature chef, author & television personality Georgia Pellegini. It will include a book signing, appetizers and a signature cocktail inspired by her new book “Modern Pioneering,” goody bags and a Q/A with Georgia. She will also demonstrate how to make a Watermelon Keg (a tutorial from her book). The event is FREE, but South on Main is asking folks to RSVP via the EventBrite page, where you can also opt to reserve a copy of her book in advance.

Celebrate the opening, re-opening and cornerstone businesses at tonight’s “The Block” Party. The event takes places from 5-7 p.m. between N. Taylor and N. Polk on Kavanaugh Blvd in The Heights. They’ll have live music, great food and tasty beverages … AND sign up at Eggshells or the new Domestic Domestic for the chance to win a $100 gift package.

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Around the Rock: Brave New is Neither Brave Nor New, But It’s Still Great