Dining » What's Cookin'

What's cooking/Capsule reviews

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What's cooking The 7th Street Cafe opened about three weeks ago (see update in this issue), and “coming soon,” according to the signs outside next door, will be the Starving Artists Cafe, in the space that once housed Dave’s Place and assorted other restaurants, between Spring and Broadway. Aydelotte’s on JFK Boulevard in North Little Rock, which has been offering a regular Sunday brunch, has extended its Sunday hours to feature dinner. The restaurant offers a four-course chef’s dinner and wine feature (appetizer, salad, choice of entree and dessert). Call 975-5524. Capsule reviews FLYING FISH This fun seafood spot has joined the ranks of area eateries offering fish tacos. We found them a little so-so in a recent visit. Instead of the Baja-style soft taco approach with a warmed flour tortilla, they used the hard corn shell variety, and this one could have used a little more heating for a little less stale feel. As for the fish, you usually expect an ocean white fish in a fish taco, but Flying Fish was using catfish fillet. The catfish tasted a little muddy (as did Companion’s order of four catfish fillets and fries), and the sauce wasn’t the kind we’ve found on fish tacos, but rather it had a dill flavor that we also found a bit disappointing. It’s early; they’ll probably work out the kinks. We also wonder whatever happened to the New Orleans-style barbecued shrimp they used to serve when they first opened — the shrimp soaking in hot, spicy oil — that has been turned into an Arkansan’s idea of barbecued shrimp, skewered over a grill with barbecue sauce. 511 President Clinton Ave. Beer and wine. CC $-$$ 375-3474 LD daily. 7TH STREET CAFE Though we enjoy Little Rock’s specialty places — Tex-Mex dives, Italian joints, pizzerias — there always comes that day when nothing but good old American grub will suffice. You know: plate lunches, burgers, meatloaf, rolls as big as your head and glasses of sweet tea you could drown a cat in. What with that, you’ll understand how happy we were recently to pay a visit to the new 7th Street Cafe. Though it’s a plain old eatin’ place, 7th Street’s owners have gone the extra mile to spruce up their storefront digs — formerly the home of the unfortunately named Gutbusters — making it an attractive, laid-back spot for a downtown get-together. The food hits the spot as well. A recent visit had us trying the Friday plate lunch, which featured catfish ($5.95 for three pieces and two veggies, $7.95 for all you can eat on Fridays). Though a companion complained about the tomatoes on his chicken Caesar salad (his only complaint, as the herbed croutons, Romaine and Caesar dressing all rated good to him, as did the price at $5.95), we found much to like about the catfish: spicy little nuggets of fish, with a lemony batter heavy on the crunchy cornmeal, with none of the muddy taste catfish can get. Though we got there late, limiting our all-you-can-eat order to all-you-can-get when the kitchen ran out, it was still some of the better catfish we’ve had around town, proving you can never go wrong with lemon pepper and cornmeal on fish. Another companion gave props to the cheeseburger, which he noted was a tad thin but tasty and not-at-all greasy, loaded with fresh fixins’ and was reasonable for the price ($5.25). The fries, also included in that price, could have come out a little warmer but were the thick variety we like. We’ll be back again soon, and this time we’ll come early. 420 W. 7th St., 376-2243. BL Mon.-Fri. $ CC No alcohol.

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