by Kat Robinson
The hubster and I dined last night at a little place up here in Eureka Springs that I just adore, Café Soleil. The Eureka Springs eatery specializes in a different twist on American and International food. They do a lot of great things with their menu.
I had to give a new item a try, the Smoked Duck with Dried Cherries and Pecans. Now, I’m not a big duck eater. But this? I ate up. The careful preparation of the duck had given it a steak-like consistency, firm yet yielding easily to the knife, savory but not wild. Paired with the dried cherries it was mouthwatering and saucy. The pecans were a nice touch but in my opinion unnecessary.
I liked the roasted carrots that came with it, too. Not so much the garlic mashed potatoes, which were pretty heavy on white pepper. But the sides were plentiful.
The hubster went for the steak and crab, a four ounce tender cut of steak paired up with a quarter pound of crab legs. Both were cooked very well and came with the same sides as my duck. He especially appreciated the clarified butter (rather than just melted) and the heavy duty crackers -- we’ve broken far too many of the plastic ones in restaurants before.
I would be remiss in not mentioning two of the things I like most at Café Soleil -- the citrus spice iced tea and the bread. The tea… it’s light, it’s fruity, and it’s just spiced enough to draw your attention. I like it. I really do. The bread, though… this is the sort of bread you think about when you’re fasting, or you’re just incredibly hungry, that soft and crusty sourdough type bread that’s served up with butter that’s already at room temperature and perfect for spreading. The kind of bread you really don’t want to share, but decide it’s okay because you have an entrée coming. The kind of bread that requires a basket refill during the meal.
If anything really surprised us during our visit, it was the uniquely intimate experience we enjoyed… as for some crazy reason we were the only diners for most of our visit. Must be the off-season, or the Tuesday night. I’ve been in before when there was a wait because every table was packed.
You’ll find Café Soleil on Highway 62 on the east side of Eureka Springs. They have a website with their menu, or you can call (479) 253-2345.