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Feb 16, 2008 03:14 PM

Chow in Arkansas

I wanted to give a brief review of a great meal I have recently enjoyed. I am not sure if Arkansas gets much airtime on the boards here so hopefully I can help report some of the chow we have scattered throughout the state.

My annual birthday ritual includes taking myself out, alone, for a fantastic meal. It reminds me that I do indeed love myself and enjoy my own company.

Recommended by my good friend Beau Satori, The Grand Taverne located within the Grand Central Hotel in Eureka Springs is home to Chef David Gilderson, born to British parents and trained at L'Ecole de Cuisine Francaise in Littleton, Sussex.

The restaurant is beautiful and set in an historic hotel. The kitchen is visible to the patrons and makes for a fun experience of seeing the food prepared.

I was very nervous about ordering the 40 dollar entree of a meat I have never even tasted but the server encouraged me that if it was to be my first time for lamb then this was the chef to have prepare it.

So, I ordered the rack of lamb in a Cointreau mint sauce, and paired it with a Ravenswood Zin, Lodi. And the chef was kind and patient enough to even take the lamb back and cook it a little more as he served it a bit more rare than I was able to handle for my virgin run. Keep in mind, I am certain the lamb was cooked perfectly for most foodies...and after he accomodated my virgin palate, it was delicious. The zin was a good pairing. And then they surprised me with a beautiful plate with Happy Birthday written in chocolate and a lovely dessert that I thoroughly enjoyed.

For a great rack of lamb (as far as I know! ;-) and impeccable service,

The Grande Taverne
37 North Main
Eureka Springs, Arkansas


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  1. we go to Eureka 4 x's a year. good to hear about Grande Taverne; it's been on our list for a while, so we'll give a try next trip.

    1. I'm hoping to get down to Eureka Springs in August. I simply love it down there. Would the Grande Taverne be suitable for a milestone birthday celebration? There are a couple of restaurants I have on my list and I was just wondering.

      4 Replies
      1. re: rweater

        check out Karen's schedule to see if she has anything planned for when you will be in Eureka:

        you can look over menus at:

        and while it is not fancy, but food is good:
        Port Orleans Rib & Steak House
        Hwy 187 (just south of Hwy 62
        )(479)253- 5258
        New Orleans type atmosphere. Jazz music of the 20s, 30s, & 40s! Steaks, BBQ, and seafood. Local organic vegetables, homemade breads and desserts! Open Mar-Nov, Fri & Sat, 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m

        I guess it all depends on the type of cuisine and atmosphere you are looking for that evening. I still think Bubba's BBQ rules, but maybe for the day after the celebration. Happy Bday!

        1. re: edible complex

          Thanks Edible! I didn't know about the Karen site.
          Actually, we're thinking of postponing our trip until Thanksgiving weekend. I'm not sure if we'd be there for Thanksgiving Day or just the weekend following. I'm sure some higher end restaurants in the area (by that I mean Eureka, and including Fayetteville, Rogers, etc.) would do a Thanksgiving meal, but don't know who they would be.

          1. re: rweater

            the crystal dining room restaurant in eureka springs' crescent hotel has an annual thanksgiving day buffet that is to "get really, really full and feel like your stomach is gonna bust" for. it has a spread that would even make king henry viii proud. someone wised us up to this: remember to call ahead for reservations. and don't forget to go up to the overlook on hotel's top floor... it's got a fantastic vista of the ozarks. (great place for one of those photos that could wind up on your next Christmas card!)

            1. re: buford1950

              I think the buffet at The Crystal Dining Room is $ absolute steal. whether a holiday or just a Sunday, book it!

      2. That's great! I'm glad you enjoyed your time in Eureka Springs. I'm from Arkansas originally, and Eureka definitely has some great food finds... My husband and I went there on our anniversary one year and ate at The Crystal Dining Room at the historic Crescent Hotel and Spa. The restaurant is full of this amazing, Old South atmosphere with a big open dining area that looks like it used to function as a ballroom at one time. It's lovely there, and the food is even more wonderful than the surroundings.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kendasuz

          It still does function as a ballroom. My best friend had a gorgeous wedding reception there last year and the food was excellent. We also had breakfast and lunch there while we were there for the wedding and it was great. A little overpriced, but everything tasted delicious.

        2. A couple other favorites in Arkansas:
          For delicious sandwiches, including burgers, on homemade bread, plus a choice of 15 different homemade pies, try the Red Rooster in Alma. It's next to the Mc Donalds.
          For excellent bbq shrimps:
          FAded Rose in Little Rock and Mike's Place in Conway
          Soul food:
          Holly's Country Cooking in Conway
          David Kitchen in Little Rock
          Cheapest pizza, and delish too:
          Due Amiche in Conway. Drive thru at lunch for a huge piece of cheese and a coke for 3.50.

          3 Replies
          1. re: funkkjunkie

            Hi funkkjunkie! I'm originally from Conway, but I haven't lived there in years. I wasn't familiar with a few of the places you listed - Due Amiche and Holly's Country Cooking... Where are they located? One place in downtown Conway that I absolutely loved when I lived there was Something Brewing. It has a wonderful atmosphere with great food and coffee!

            1. re: kendasuz

              Hi - my New York City kid is about to enter Hendrix college in Conway and I would love to have the food info. We will be in Little Rock for a night - any suggestions?

              1. re: matika

                My favorite in Little Rock would be Brave New Restaurant. Can be tricky to find but worth the search. It is in the Riverdale area.