Thursday, November 8, 2012
LITTLE ROCK Yeah, yeah, yeah! The bold banner hanging on the Rumba Revolution Room’s wall facing La Harpe Boulevard in Little Rock’s River Market District beckons Beatles fans as it announces the restaurant’s Beatles Brunch on Sundays.
“Get Back!” It’s a clever idea — take the standard brunch fare and blend in a beloved rock group. Food, the Fab Four. This gig plays 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sundays, and stars $1 mimosas as the headliner.
From the sound of it, this cut should climb the charts and “Please Please Me.”
But during a recent visit, the performance was a bit off-key.
When we arrived at 12:30 p.m., the prime seats — a half-dozen cozy, elevated booths draped with sheer white curtains — were already occupied, so we found ourselves relegated to a utilitarian laminate-topped table for two wedged up against a half-wall in the center of the open restaurant.
Beatles music played softly in the background, sometimes too softly to hear above the clanging of dishes in the kitchen. After a short stretch of Beatles tunes, other more contemporary artists’ songs were oddly included in the mix before returning to Beatles songs.
Topping the menu, titled “‘All You Need Is’ ... Brunch” and subtitled “Across the Universe,” were appetizers (none of which featured festive Fab Four names). Choices included black bean hummus ($5.99) and chips with salsa ($3.99), with queso ($5.99) or both ($7.99); Smothered Fries ($7.99); chicken quesadilla ($9.49); and Mondo Nachos with brisket, blackened chicken, or black beans ($9.99). We chose Hot Crab Dip ($6.99).
Our $1 mimosas arrived in rocks glasses, not champagne flutes or tall glasses. And they were tepid, not overly chilled.
For entrees, we settled on the “Revolution” Benedict ($9.99), poached egg on an English muffin with blackened chicken hash topped with pico de gallo and chipotle hollandaise sauce, and the “Octopus’ Garden” ($10.99), crab cakes on an English muffin, also topped with a poached egg and chipotle hollandaise sauce. Both entrees included a side of home fries.
About 15 minutes later, we were still awaiting the crab dip and our waitress had not reappeared to refresh a glass that had been empty for several minutes.
Entrees soon arrived and we noted that we’d yet to “Come Together” with our still-missing appetizer. The manager apologized, promised “It Won’t Be Long” and offered to take half off the appetizer’s price.
The cubed blackened chicken in the “Revolution” Benedict had the perfect amount of zing for this New Orleans native but could smother those more sensitive to spices. My companion said his crab cakes weren’t the best he’d ever had but the taste and texture were fine.
“Wait.” The crab dip, when it finally made an appearance a few minutes later, was tasty and creamy, topped with melted cheddar/jack cheese combination and served with crispy tortilla strips for dipping. But, overwhelmed by all of the food arriving at once, after a few bites, it was set aside to be taken home for later.
From the first note to the last, service was spotty, with our waitress absent for long stretches. While our entrees were tasty, the menu seems a bit one-dimensional with many dishes featuring the same ingredients offered in slightly different ways. “Do You Want to Know a Secret?” This take on brunch has a nice “Twist” but is nothing to “Shout” about.
Address: 300 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock Hours: Brunch served 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Sunday (also open for lunch Tuesday-Sunday, dinner daily) Credit cards: V, MC, AE, D Alcoholic beverages: Full bar Reservations: Accepted, not required Wheelchair accessible: Yes Carryout: Yes (501) 823-0090
Weekend, Pages 47 on 11/08/2012