During my time living in the northeast, I was often surprised by the high number of restaurants offering either a prix fixe meal (full meal at a fixed price) or a chef’s tasting menu (samples sizes of various dishes). A typical prix fixe meal would feature a selection of 2-3 appetizers, 3-4 entrees, and 2-3 desserts. You’d choose one of each and typically pay anywhere from $25-$50 for the entire meal. Chef’s tastings are often 5-6 courses, comprised of dishes that tend to highlight seasonal ingredients and/or signature plates of the restaurants, and can run upwards of $75-$100 per person. In Little Rock, as you’ll see, these offerings are few and far between…
One Eleven at the Capital
Check out One Eleven during lunch for its wonderful “3 Cocettes.” This includes a starter, intermezzo, and entrée for $15. The restaurant also offers an “Express Lunch,” which is the chef’s daily selection of soup, starter, main course, cheese, bread, and dessert for $17 (all in smaller portions). “Looking to the future, One Eleven anticipates the creation of periodic prix fixe offerings, primarily designed for a specific occasion or season. In the meantime, the storied Wine Cellar upholds its reputation as Little Rock’s ultimate special-event venue by continuing its adherence to specially-designed prixe fixe menus with meticulously selected wine pairings. Because each event must be separately booked, prepared and served, this approach is actually the most practical,” says director of marketing Chuck Magill.
Cache has an actual chef’s table, a room just steps away from the kitchen where Chef Payne Harding and his crew will prepare a 3, 5, or 7-course meal for parties of 1 to 8 people. Parties of 1-4 have a $500 minimum while parties of 5-8 have a $1000 minimum. Reservations are required (501.850.0265).
On Tuesdays, folks can pick three small plates for $20, a truly fantastic deal given Table 28’s amazing menu. The restaurant can also do a 5 or 6-course chef’s table menu, complete with wine pairings.
South on Main
Chef Matthew Bell doesn’t actively promote it, but you can request a chef’s tasting menu during any visit, and he’ll gladly oblige. “Yes, I will do tasting menus on request, and I’ll probably be adding a tasting option to the menu soon,” says Bell.
If you’ve enjoyed Acadia’s prix fixe menu in the past, you better get into the restaurant before this Friday. That’s right, the restaurant’s 3-course, $27.75 per person menu is going bye-bye. “The new menu will feature a broader range of pricing and hopefully make folks feel like it’s okay to just come in for an appetizer and a glass of wine and cocktail. We’ll always be limited as we have one of the smallest kitchens in Little Rock, and no walk in coolers, but hopefully this will give folks more options,” says chef/owner James Hale.
Ciao Baci’s latest seasonal menu has brought with it a 5-course, $45 chef’s tasting option. “While we have offered special menus in the past for occasions, this is the first ever changing nightly tasting we have offered. Items are set around a progression of five small plates. We change frequently so it stays interesting. It features anything from tasting-sized menu entrees to completely inspired dishes just for that day,” says chef Jeffrey Owen.
Note: If you’re a restaurant out there that offers a chef’s tasting menu and/or prix fixe meal options, and I failed to include you in this article, please drop me a line, and I’ll be sure to update the piece. Thank you!