Little Rock has a long running success of being a second market for a number of Memphis and Dallas hot spots as they look to grow. Almost all have done very well in Little Rock, so it is no surprise that as Memphis based Soul Fish Cafe set their eyes on the first location outside of Memphis, Little Rock was a quick target.
The downtown Little Rock location is nestled next to the newly opened Bruno’s deli on Main street in Little Rock. It is the restaurant group’s fourth location and you can quickly see the collective knowledge from the previous three spots that went into both the menu and the dining space.
On the surface the menu is going not going to surprise many. You will see a smattering of fish, shrimp, and crawfish fried a variety of ways. Dig a little deeper into the menu though and you will see what may be one of the most interesting menus for a traditional casual southern seafood spot that we have come across.
For starters, Soul Fish is not just frying up bags of frozen seafood like you get in most places. In fact their freezer space is practically non-existent.
“We really work hard to make everything from scratch,” manager Jeffery Williams tells us. “About the only thing we do not make in house is our breading, which still comes from our proprietary recipe made in the Memphis location.”
Out of that comes some really outstanding fried catfish, shrimp, oysters, and crawfish that set their standard seafood offerings apart from similar restaurants.
Venture outside the fried everything category though and you can find some real gems. They smoke all their meats in house which creates some of the best dishes on the menu. The smoked chicken wings are a crowd favorite, so is the smoked catfish dip which is a creamy, meaty dip served with tortilla chips. The Cuban po-boy however was a table favorite, using house smoked pork loin.
On the larger dinner side they feature a number of entrees using various types of blackened or grilled fish, smoked chicken, as well as the expected fried platters. They also feature a handful of tacos if you like your fish a little more hand held.
Also, don’t skimp on dessert. Their lemon pie features lemons that are hand squeezed daily to make a custardy pie that was a big surprise hit.
Finally they have a great, and growing, lineup of craft beers and wine available. It contains a strong mix of local and regional beers featuring Stone’s Throw, Lost Forty, Core, Diamond Bear, Wiseacre, Lagunitas, and Bells. They plan to rotate in additional local beers frequently, so be sure to check the latest offerings.
Soul Fish seems to fit right at home and pushes the Main Street revival even further. It is a great lunch and casual dinner option beside Bruno’s and Samantha’s and should serve the area well.