Despite the name, E's Bistro and Gourmet Foods is more tearoomy than bistroish — there's no wine, for one thing, and there is tea. But guys, listen up: There's nothing tearoomy about the portions here. They're man-sized. And here's something else guys will like: It's not pricey. The most expensive thing on the menu is the grilled salmon plate at $11.95. That the food is good, too, is icing on the cake.
Of course you don't expect high prices at a place that's only open for lunch, and that's what the bistro is. In the Lakehill Shopping Center on JFK Boulevard in North Little Rock, it's a comfortable sort of place for friends to meet. Paintings and photographs for sale hang on the walls.
Soup, salad, sandwiches and pasta are the things at E's, and there are daily specials. The people at the next table raved about the chicken enchiladas, but we didn't hear them raving until after we'd already placed our orders.
One of us ordered a grilled salmon BLT, a combination we'd never even imagined before. She thought long about the Portobello sandwich before deciding on the SBLT, which sure enough put a nice piece of salmon on top of two big, thick slices of bacon and a slice of tomato, all in a buttery croissant (there's your bistro angle). It was accompanied by a green salad with vinaigrette dressing. She found it quite tasty.
If one order was exotic, the other was about as basic as it gets — a pimento cheese sandwich. This one was on wheat bread, accompanied by a couple of watermelon wedges. (All sandwiches come with a regular salad, pasta salad or fresh fruit.)
It was a big, thick sandwich, but we weren't impressed by the pimento cheese. We're longtime lovers of the stuff, but all that we've had lately has come from one particular provider who livens it up with peppers. Maybe that's conditioned our taste buds. E's version seemed bland to us, in need of some sort of spice or perhaps sharper cheese. Having said that, we expect to hear from people who say that E's pimento cheese is wonderful. Pimento cheese is sort of like potato salad — the subject of strong opinion. We also ordered a cup of tomato basil bisque, which was every bit as creamy as it should be.
We didn't order dessert, which apparently changes from day to day. It was apple dumplings on our visit. We did pick up a satisfyingly chewy oatmeal raisin cookie at the counter.
The drill at E's is wait to be seated, order at your table, then get up and get your own drink — tea, water, soft drink. The soft drinks are kept in a glass refrigerator case that also houses E's "Gourmet-To-Go" meals.
3812 JFK Boulevard (Lakehill Shopping Center)
The eat-in restaurant operates in conjunction with a frozen gourmet food takeout store.
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Sunday is brunch day. Closed Monday.
No alcohol. Credit cards accepted. The takeout store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.