by Max Brantley
Gourmet photo of Richardson at work.
I was going to put this on Eat Arkansas, but the whole world needs something that tastes good.
So here, a link to a warm article on Gourmet's website about Arkansas foodways by John T. Edge, the Mississippi-based writer who's one of the biggest names going among foodies these days. (He's a genius, sure enough: One of his "Cornbread Nation" books quotes something I once wrote about barbecue.)
Edge works in a raft of Arkie food plugs -- from Craig's in DeValls Bluff, to the Russellville-made Microplane kitchen utensils, to paddlefish caviar from the White River to Petit Jean ham. But the real rave is about Capital Hotel Chef Lee Richardson and the food wonders being wrought there in Ashley's, the Capital Bar and, in Edge's case, a gift basket of Arkansas foods he received when he visited Little Rock for an Oxford American event.
I'm a big admirer of what Richardson has done at the Capital, though I'd send him two notes: 1) Next year, how about a set menu for Thanksgiving offered at a couple of seatings? 2) Sometimes even busy people might like to try that $25 three-course lunch on weekdays in Ashley's (it's a bargain given the intriguing choices, such as sauteed sweetbreads, diver scallops, cornbread salad with chicken and lots more). But it helps if a waiter can drop by within five minutes after you sit down.