Thursday, April 5, 2018
Weekly theme listings reflect a range of dining possibilities in central Arkansas, across a spectrum of settings and price ranges. Restaurant reviewers' visits are anonymous and all expenses are paid by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
UPDATE! A.W. LIN'S ASIAN CUISINE
Promenade at Chenal, 17717 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, (501) 821-5398
This western outrider of a Tennessee-based mini-chain offers great plate presentation, good service and a menu of Thai, Southeast Asian, Japanese, sushi and flavorful Chinese dishes, especially among the Chef's Specials. A downtown branch is in the works for Main Street.
Lunch, dinner daily. Full bar. Reservations. Moderate-expensive.
CHI'S DIMSUM & BISTRO
6 Shackleford Drive, Little Rock, (501) 225-8878
CHI'S FINE CHINESE CUISINE
17200 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, (501) 821-8000
CHI'S ASIAN CAFE & SUSHI BAR
3421 Old Cantrell Road, Little Rock, (501) 916-9973, (501) 916-9975
Lulu Chi's Chinese food mini-empire now consists of three restaurants -- the one on Chenal Parkway that started out as primarily a to-go outlet but now is a full-service, sit-down establishment; the Riverdale outlet has a sushi bar and additional Pan-Asian entrees; and the original Shackleford Drive "headquarters" still serves up some of the area's top Asian food, including a menu of authentic Chinese dishes and dim sum, particularly popular on weekends when it's delivered to tables in carts.
Lunch, dinner daily. No sushi Sun in Riverdale. Full bar in Riverdale; wine and beer only at Chenal and Old Cantrell. Reservations (Shackleford). Moderate-expensive.
UPDATE! FANTASTIC CHINA
1900 N. Grant St., Little Rock, (501) 663-8999
A recent change in ownership has not yet changed the menu or the decor or anything else that has kept this a consistent top choice in reader polls, and deservedly so; the food is a lot like its contemporary decor -- interesting and bold, yet soothing and not the least bit intimidating, and with an emphasis on fresh, quality ingredients, good service and special touches.
Lunch, dinner daily. Full bar. Reservations. Moderate.
14810 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, (501) 868-8149
Run by the friendly folks who once operated the now-defunct Forbidden City in Park Plaza, this cozy west Little Rock restaurant emphasizes fresh, quality ingredients and presentation, including some Thai-influenced dishes like cumin shredded beef and basil chicken.
Lunch, dinner daily. Full bar. Moderate.
FU LIN RESTAURANT
200 N. Bowman Road, Little Rock, (501) 225-8989
The latest owners of this long-lived restaurant have given the interior a face-lift (now with a tripartite dining room with sturdy booths and a clubby decor); the still-dependable menu features traditional Chinese-American fare, including soul-soothing egg drop and perfectly balanced hot and sour soups.
Lunch, dinner daily; Sun buffet. Full bar. Reservations. Moderate.
MR. CHEN'S AUTHENTIC CHINESE COOKING
Village Shopping Center, 3901 S. University Ave., Little Rock, (501) 562-7900
MR. CHENG'S AUTHENTIC CHINESE COOKING
4629 E. McCain Blvd., North Little Rock, (501) 955-9988
Two operations -- first cousins, you might say -- have the same menu but different franchisees; many of the dishes will be a little weird, or at least challenging, for Western tastes, but as the name says, it's authentic -- at the Little Rock location, the produce and the fresh seafood come from the Asian supermarket that encloses it.
Lunch, dinner daily. Reservations for large parties. Moderate.
MR. HUI'S RESTAURANT
Pleasant Valley Town Center, 11525 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, (501) 478-6666
Cost-effective and casual, this cousin of Mr. Chen's and Mr. Cheng's offers a sizable menu of authentic dishes with plenty of scope for selecting either secure, familiar items or adventurous ordering.
Lunch, dinner daily. Reservations. Moderate.
Weekend on 04/05/2018
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