You’ve read about our favorites…now it’s time to take a look at what some of the Little Rock top chefs enjoyed serving up in 2014. Today, we’re taking a look at two chefs helping propel the mini-empire of restaurateur Jerry Barakat to the forefront of Little Rock dining. Brian Kearns heads the team at both Arthur’s Prime Steakhouse and Ocean’s at Arthur’s. Greg Wallis was recently brought on as the head chef at Kemuri, one of the most celebrated new openings of 2014.
Greg Wallis. Here’s what the Kemuri chef is most pleased to be serving at one of Hillcrest’s hottest new eateries:
Lamb Soft Tacos: One of the reasons Kemuri has made such a splash with the dining public is its ability to explore a wide variety of cuisines and cooking styles. These soft tacos are a perfect example of the menus breadth and Chef Wallis’s versatility. They came topped with pickled onion, cilantro, and anticucho (Peruvian sauce).
Miso Glazed Black Cod: Kemuri has already become known for its high-quality seafood. This dish comes served with baby bok choy and crispy lotus root.
Perfected Pho Bowl: Not on the regular menu, but served as a Kemuri special, this bowl came loaded with tender beef, soft quail egg, crunchy radish, Thai basil, jalapeño, and cilantro.
Miso Encrusted Scallop: Here’s another dish Wallis presented as a special at Kemuri. It came served with Peruvian potato puree, roasted honshimeji mushroom, arugula and yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit, similar to an orange).
White Tuna Sashimi: Wallis serves this one with citrus cilantro oil, yuzu, and dried miso for a flavor that’s a nice balance of sweet and salty. It has become a customer favorite on the restaurant’s menu.
Brian Kearns of Arthur’s Prime Steakhouse and Ocean’s at Arthur’s shares a few of his favorite plates from the past year:
Beef Brisket and Beef Ribs: Beef had a big year in 2014, and brisket is on many people’s minds at the moment. Kearns served these at a private party at his home.
Russian Volga Caviar: This was served as part of an Arthur’s customer’s anniversary dinner. A smooth and creamy caviar with a nice salty brine, this is one of the most prized luxury items in the world.
Kobe Beef: “Always cool to see someone order a big Kobe filet,” says Kearns. Kobe is another big-ticket luxury item which has helped distinguish Arthur’s from most of its competitors. The beef is renowned for its fatty, well-marbled texture and rich flavor.
Korean Fried Chicken: “This was a dish that unfortunately didn’t make the cut at Kemuri, but I loved them,” says Kearns. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing them pop up on the menu as a special now and then.
Maine Lobster from Eastpoint Lobster Co.: “I got these fresh off the boat from a Boston transplant. All his seafood is excellent.”