You all won't find a bigger fan of crazy, out-there, off-the-wall food than me, but there are times when all I want is some comfort food. In those times, all the foreign spices and eclectic flavor combinations in the world just won't satisfy — and that's when I thank the food gods that we have places around like Buffalo Grill. It ain't fancy, and it ain't challenging, but it hits just the right spot when all that sounds good is good old American food.
I stopped into the Rebsamen Road location of Buffalo Grill this past weekend and was immediately taken in by two things: the red-checkered table cloths (vinyl, natch) and the gargantuan glasses of iced tea that were quickly plopped down in front of myself and my dining companion. I'm a man that gets a taste for a cold swig of tea now and again, and I don't take kindly to waiting for refills. My thirst-anxiety quenched, I took a minute to thumb through the menu, which while large, sticks right to the sort of diner fare that I find quite compelling when executed properly. We went with a plate of chicken nachos, offered with cheddar cheese or cheese dip (which isn't a real choice at all in the land of cheese dip) and a tuna steak sandwich that sounded good but left me feeling a little apprehensive — after all, tuna in places like this usually comes out of a can to be mixed with mayo.
The nachos arrived, and we were struck by the sheer size of the platter. Chips, finely chopped chicken, tomatoes, and creamy melted cheese were nearly spilling from the plate and onto our easy-to-wipe table cloth. The chicken was tasty, and the cheese dip made a nice, sloppy topping that held everything together. These aren't any sort of gourmet nachos or anything — these are nachos I might make myself before a football game or on a night when I feel like eating junk food. In other words, they were perfect.
The tuna steak sandwich was the real shocker, though. I honestly expected the thing to come out dry, overcooked, and tasting like the bottom of some old fisherman's trawler. What arrived was a moist, lightly grilled tuna steak on a fresh sesame seed bun accompanied by a slice of tomato, some lettuce, and just enough mayonnaise to keep things interesting. The fish was very light tasting, balancing the meaty texture of the tuna with a stay on the grill that imparted a lot of flavor without turning everything into a rubbery mess. I'm a pretty big fan of tuna in all forms, and this grilled sandwich was exactly how it should have been — a nice surprise given my earlier worries.
For an inexpensive lunch, Buffalo Grill is hard to beat. The selection of sandwich, burger, and salad classics is straight out of every diner stereotype you can think of, but it's a comfortable menu that the place makes work. For those days when only classical American cuisine will work, it's hard to go wrong here.
Buffalo Grill has two locations in Little Rock, at 400 N. Bowman and 1611 Rebsamen Park Road, and they're open from 11 a.m. Sunday-Saturday until whenever the cook decides to kick everybody out.