I never ate at The Southern Gourmasian during it’s exclusively food-truck days, and I hadn’t yet made it to the storefront location at 219 West Capitol. A friend who works downtown requested that be my next stop so she could tag along.
I was worried about parking downtown during the work day, but it was surprisingly good. I only parked about a block away, and traffic wasn’t problematic at all. Of course, that’s likely part of the benefit of eating just after 1pm. When we arrived, there was only one other table in use, though one other did rotate through during our stay. The space was arranged in a way to maximize seating without any one spot feeling crowded, and though I’m not normally a fan of the half booth/half table arrangement, it worked.
I’m frequently the recipient of perfectly polite service, but our waitress was one of the most genuinely friendly I’ve ever had—certainly not a requirement, but a benefit. My friend ordered the Korean BBQ Lettuce Wraps with pork belly, assorted pickles (carrots, in this case), and steamed rice. This was my second option, so I was glad to be able to try a bite of hers. I like pork fine, but I’m not inclined to rave about it, so when I say that this was some of the best pork I’d ever had, please believe me. It melted in my mouth like butter. Combine it with fluffy rice and wrap it in lettuce, and you’ve got a not-too-heavy lunch to day dream about. Even better, it came in at only $8.50.
I tried the Korean Fried Chicken with jalapeno cornbread and braised greens. At $9.50, it was also a good deal. The greens were flavorful with just a bit of kick, and the cornbread was lightly sweetened to offset the jalapeno. I meant to eat only half the cornbread, but the rest accidentally fell into my mouth. The fried chicken was very tender and perfectly fried with a nice skin, but I must admit I wasn’t a huge fan of the sauce, though that’s likely a personal problem rather than any issue with the sauce itself. The single piece of bone-in chicken is significant, but cut easily, saving the potential mess of eating with fingers while dressed for work.
For dessert, they offer a brioche dark chocolate bread pudding. Bread pudding is a little hit or miss for me, but this was definitely a hit. Like, the kind I’ll be making special trips for. The dark chocolate pudding was unreal, and the brioche, excellent. This was enough to serve two, but my friend didn’t quite hold up her end of the bargain, so I finally had the waitress take the last few bites away to save me from myself.
The Southern Gourmasian is another super lunch option in Little Rock, and if you go at off-peak times, it’s quiet and quick. I’m embarrassed it took me this long to visit, so if you haven’t been yet, just go ahead.