- GREENHOUSE: Organically good.
The food culture of Fayetteville, it seems to us at least, puts a higher value on organic groceries than we do in Little Rock. The Greenhouse Grille at 318 Archibald Yell — a shopping center in the U.S. Highway 71 curve at Locust — is the latest eatery to take advantage of the region’s organic vegetables and berries and meat (beefalo) to offer off-the-beaten-path fare.
We lunched there with children, one of whom enjoys a limited palate, and found we could satisfy all. Snuggled in at a table by the window, we ordered up some fairly fancy-sounding items from a U.N. of a menu: watermelon gazpacho, organic mushroom and scallion cheesecake, organic vegetable egg rolls, Cuban black beans and rice, and Cajun pasta.
Watermelon gazpacho. Please. We have, at the Times, on more than one occasion snickered at a grilled watermelon dish served up by a defunct la-dee-dah restaurant in the Heights neighborhood.
We snicker not, however, at the Greenhouse Grille’s watermelon gazpacho. It was delicious, a perfect dish for summer in Arkansas, combining tomato, watermelon, cucumber and bell pepper. It was sweet and spicy and cold and we sent our regards to the chef, who whips up a turnip gazpacho also, said to be mild and lovely.
The “cheesecake” is layered shiitake and portobello mushrooms with scallions and a medley of four cheeses, including brie. Happily, it was big enough for two — at least we thought so, as we helped ourselves to our friend’s serving. The concoction is served with delicious toasted bread. Rich. Like the watermelon gazpacho, a must if you choose to eat here.
Since we’re raving about the stellar points of the Grille, we’ll now address the sweet potato fries. Sweet potato fries are always good, in our experience, but these were the best we’ve ever had. The Grille juliennes them and fries them so they have an exterior crust. Superb.
The Cuban black beans and rice served with mandarin oranges and avocado had great potential, but the kitchen skimped on the citrus-cilantro vinaigrette and so the dish was blander than it should have been. The tomatoes on the side added nothing in the least. But the dish had texture, freshness and nearly all the right ingredients.
A grilled chicken club didn’t quite earn the “club” name, since it came on a large toasted roll. It was souped up with avocado sauce, and more than filling. The egg rolls didn’t look so special but were fine. The penne pasta did look special, beautifully arranged on a bed of vegetables. So did the next table’s order of enormous onion rings. Definitely a serving big enough for two, but we do not poach from strangers.
Cheesecake, as in the sweet kind, topped things off, and thank goodness the Grille had run out of the chocolate sauce it was going to use to insult this, our favorite, dessert. Its New York style shone through, and we were glad of it.
The menu offers heartier fare, like filet mignon and buffalo lasagna, as well as beers and California wines (all by the glass or bottle). Five of us ate, and ate well, for $50. The price was right given the food and the stylishly minimalist but cozy ambiance. Speaking of minimalist, the space is as underseated as the decor understated; you might have trouble dining in.
318 Archibald Yell
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Owners Clayton Suttle and Jerrmy Gawthrop have taken over a little place with a big view of food — a menu that includes Asian, Cuban, Mexican, Italian and American dishes. Greenhouse Grille also offers full-service catering.
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
The filet mignon, at $24.75, is the priciest offering on the menu by a factor of two; wines range from $5 to $8.50 a glass, beers are in the $2.75-$3.50 range.