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What's cooking/Capsule review, Dec. 28



What's cooking

A Bonefish Grill opened in late August in Rogers, and word is that a second for Arkansas may be coming to Little Rock’s Pleasant Ridge Town Center on Highway 10 west of I-430. The chain has added new stores by the dozen in the past several months, with more on the way in 2007, but the corporate office does not have official statement on a Little Rock store.

Veteran restaurateurs Tim Curci and Chris Parker created a restaurant in St. Petersburg, Fla., that, according to company literature, would take the mystery out of fish for people who didn’t often eat it: where it came from, how it was cooked, and how to have fun blending fish with various flavors. The first Bonefish Grill opened in 2001, and, after bringing former Outback Steakhouse exec John Cooper of Clearwater, Fla., into the fold, initially expanded along the East Coast. The latest openings have been in the Midwest and Gulf Coast.

The Rogers Bonefish Grill, at the Shoppes at Pinnacle Hills, has steaks and chicken in addition to the fish specialties and seafood appetizers, as well as a large selection of middle-to-high-side-of-the-road wines ($27 to $78 a bottle), martinis and beers. It’s open daily for dinner only. The fish is flown in six days a week, according to the Rogers restaurant manager.

Capsule review

UPDATE: VAN LANG CUISINE RESTAURANT It helps to have a pro to eat with here, because the menu is vast, with its soups and spring rolls and entrees you wrap yourself and bowls of rice noodles with treats in them and exotic non-alcoholic drinks and so forth. Our pro suggested a bowl of rice noodles with grilled shrimp and pork; a vinegary sauce came on the side to pour over the bowl. The pork was wrapped in a dumpling; the shrimp were cooked just right; the noodles were light and delicious. A bowl of clear spicy soup that we didn’t order came to the table, so we dove in. It had a slightly soapy taste, but we think if we’d actually ordered it and knew what we were doing, our brain could have changed soapy to the correct ingredient. If you don’t have a pro to go with, don’t worry; the menu has English descriptions. But there are a lot of them! This is a good place for big parties; the food comes fast (at least at lunch it does) and the restaurant is sectioned so your hooting doesn’t bother the other diners. 3600 S. University Ave. Beer and wine. CC $-$$ 570-7700 LD daily. Chef

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