If you pay attention, you’ll have noticed more than a few menus coming out of Little Rock’s Capital Bar and Grill over the past few months. Chef de cuisine Arturo Solis says that they’ve been searching for the perfect combination of dishes to properly serve their customer base.
They’ve hit it out of the park with their latest one.
He says, “We’re trying to get to an upscale comfort level with our menu. It’s not fancy or fine dining, but it’s definitely a little more elevated than your casual standard bar food. We’re trying to make it fun as well.”
A few highlights include Duck Pot Pie, a spicy lamb sausage, and Fried Biscuits with a Black Pepper Cheese Fondue. Solis says, “It’s a little more accessible. Take pot pie – everyone’s familiar with pot pie – so we present our take on it. The plating is a little more upscale, as well.”
Start with an appetizer – I’d suggest the Fried Biscuits. They’re the perfect level of hot, both in temperature and seasoning. Fresh from the kitchen, you won’t be able to keep your hands off these crispy-on-the-outside gooey-on-the-inside savory treats. Pro tip – don’t try to share.
For something a little heartier, go with the Lamb Merguez – a spicy lamb sausage. Solis says, “It’s traditional of Northern Africa. You can find it in Morocco, Spain, and France. It’s a little spicy but it’s very simply served with grilled sourdough, a little celery and red onion relish, and mustard on the side.”
For comfort, opt for the Duck Pot Pie. “It’s in the style of cassoulet, not the traditional with peas and carrots and potatoes,” explains Solis, “This duck has been slow braised for four or five hours … then it’s cooled and pulled. Then we cook it in with a mixture of white beans, turnip greens, pork back, smoked bacon and pork belly.”
It’s mouthwateringly tender, folks, with a next-level comfort you didn’t even know food could give you.
Don’t skip dessert. Try the Chocolate and Berry Tart, a more than modest chocolate tart with berry reduction cooked into the ganache. Accompanied by flat meringue, little meringues, fresh berries, and berry compote, you can’t go wrong with this sweet offering.
Solis says, “This is a collaboration with Matt Dunn and I. While most of the dishes are Matt’s, I’ll plate them. We bounce ideas off of each other.”
While you’re eating your weight in the new menu, don’t forget to try out some of the new drinks, as well. Bar manager Ben Edwards has a few delectable cocktails up his sleeves that you won’t want to miss.
If you’re looking for something quite easy to drink, yet packed with full flavor, start with the Capital Cup. Equipped with Amaro Averna, Vermouth de Terino, Ginger and Lime you can’t miss the slight spicy yet bitter taste. “It’s refreshing and even a little sweet,” says Edwards, “It’s great for a hangover.”
For Mezcal-lovers, there’s the Denckla Block, which comes recommended by Edwards. “This drink is basically a combination of all my favorite stuff,” he says. Consisting of Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Aperol, Yellow Chartreuse, and Lime Juice, it’s everything to love – smoky, citrusy, and only slightly sweet. Edwards adds, “It’s got a lot of herbal characters from the chartreuse, it’s just a fun, easy drink.”
Plus, it’s named for William P. Denckla – the man who first built what would become today’s Capital Hotel, back in 1872.
Finally, you can’t go wrong with the Rye Manhattan. It comes with house-made bitters made from the Capital Bar and Grill’s famous pecans. “It’s got that kind of pecan sweet and spicy thing going on and it plays really well with the rye,” says Edwards. Plus, this cocktail is smoking. Literally.
Get out to the Capital Bar and Grill and try the new menus for yourself – there’s a little something for everyone.