If you want to be part of the in-crowd, you must up your brunch game. Luckily for Rock City local restaurants are turning up the heat and delivering.
Among many of the slew of new brunch offerings include SO Restaurant – Bar, the swanky Hillcrest staple. Recently, I made a trek out on a Sunday to check their offerings first hand. I was especially curious to sample the menu after listening to Executive Chef Casey Copeland talk up his favorite meal.
First off, drinks.
I am of the camp that believes brunch isn’t brunch without a mimosa or bloody mary … or two or three.
Because I feel that Little Rock is lacking an excellent, knocks-your-socks-off, five star bloody mary, I opted to try SO’s take. The actual spiciness was where it needed to be, thanks to the house-infused vodka. My only complaint was with the add-ons that came with it, which were overwhelming. Bacon, shrimp, olives, sweet pepper, and celery? I believe one or two of those would have sufficed.
That being said, I downed the whole drink, accents and all, and it was delicious.
On to the eats.
The menu, at first glance, seems small with only nine items total. Upon further inspection you’ll realize that each item is a brunch classic which Chef Copeland has worked in a new, creative angle. Take for instance, the Mixed Fruit Salad. Although I didn’t order the dish this time around, I’ve sampled it before. It’s fresh to the max, and while it sounds light, it can be incredibly filling depending how you order it – I always opt for vanilla scented whipped cream with mine.
This time though, I was curious about The Works, a menu item equipped with bone marrow soft scrambled eggs, pork belly, smoked jalapeno salsa and a hashbrown nest alongside toasted brioche. Like anything out of Copeland’s kitchen, the plate was almost too pretty to eat, but the smell of seasoned pork belly quickly change my mind.
The eggs were fluffy and light, buoyant in a marrow bath which only increased the flavor. The pork belly was juicily, well seasoned and mouth-melting. Even the hashbrowns were on point, crispy but not burnt, with a slight sprinkling of salt.
I also had an opportunity to give the Eggs Benedict Gravlax a quick go. The traditional poached egg was served atop an everything bagel with smoked salmon, creamy hollandaise, salmon roe and chives. The salmon was succulent and fresh, and complemented the poached egg which was done perfectly – not too runny or hard.
Honestly, if given the choice of choosing between the two dishes again, my hands would be tied, because they were both fantastic.
I know SO can be a little intimidating for the first-timer, or at least, it was for me. Trust me, their brunch is a laid-back atmosphere complete with great service. Our waitress didn’t rush us, which was a huge plus, as my favorite part of the whole experience is slowing down to truly enjoy my food.
Get out to SO and give their brunch a try on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.