Surprised there's been no discussion of Bentonville with the relatively new museum of American art there. Surely there must be at least some 'que thereabouts, and somewhere nicer for the visiting Wally World execs to eat. (I prefer the former, but will listen to discussion of the latter.)
I'm in Bentonville on a short-term assignment right now. I'm staying near the W World HQ. Have been too busy to venture out much, but this weekend I'm planning to try Tusks and Trotters, for sure.
I went to the Flying Fish on the square for dinner the other night. The atmosphere and service were great (think 1950's to 60's diner style with good blues playing the whole time.) The theme is hokey, but fun. The entire staff when I was there seemed to be Latino, but the atmosphere doesn't seem like one created by the Latino culture.
Unfortunately, they serve mainly catfish, and catfish is one of the few foods to which I have an aversion. But they also have Grouper and Tilapia. I opted for a basket of fried Grouper--it came with fries and two hushpuppies. Overall, everything was good, but the breading was not at all to my liking. They use a heavy, dense cornmeal crust and by the time they finish deep-frying it, it's a bit like cornmeal concrete. The fish inside was tender and moist but lost in the outside armour. Fries were okay and the hushpuppies were yummie. I plan to give Flying Fish another try--this time I will opt for grilled fish and order more hushpuppies.
I watched a couple having quite a feast at another table. They started with a big plate of oysters on the half. Not sure I would order oysters in Bentonville at a fast-food style restaurant, but hey, to each his own.
I'm off to the wars again. Will update as this assignment plays out.
The museum's name is Crystal Bridges. It is excellent, the setting for the museum is incredible considering it is right in the heart of town.
I have dined at Tusk and Trotter and the food was very good, the service was a bit slow. I was a solo diner sitting at the bar and the bartender had a group of friends hanging out he seemed much more interested in.
There is another new restaurant in the NWA called 28 Springs in old downtown Siloam Springs. If you stay on the highway you will miss it. Went for Sunday brunch and was very happy. THey change the menu frequently so what I had is no longer on the menu. There was a jazz combo playing and they were entertaining. The volumn was not so loud you could not have a conversation with out raising your voice to be heard. Plus they were just darn good musicians. This place is owned by Miles James who also has James at the Mill down between Springdale and Fayetteville. A bit out of the way but well worth the drive. http://www.28springs.com/
I'm hoping someone has tried The Hive at the 21 c hotel. "Refined country cuisine" does not rock my boat but they do serve rabbit.
Fortunately Farmers Market season is once again upon us so I have an excuse to hit Crepes Paulette. For anyone who hasn't tried them yet, they are a delicious crepe wrap sandwich truck on (or a block away from) the square.
Barbeque? I have yet to find anything earthshaking here. Smokin Joes has been around for years but I'm partial to Whole Hog on Walnut.
We just returned from our trip here and ate quite well. Here are some details.
We stayed for 4 nights, and had 4 extra ordinary breakfasts. By far best breakfasts we've ever had at a B&B. Flavorful, imaginative, fresh and and just the right size. We strongly recommend.
Lunch: I had hamburger, husband had veggie burger. Met our museum food expectations. Setting is idyllic. Pickled okra was nice touch. Coffee was from local roaster, Airship Coffee, unfortunately no pour over. Peanut butter cookie and peach smoothie were very good.
We were pleasantly surprised with the quality of the art on display this hotel, although in subject matter some of it was a bit antler heavy (see complaints below on taxidermy). But even more impressed with the food at Hive.
We shared the Arkansas Trail Mix. It was awkward eating it with knife and fork, and slightly too greasy using our fingers. That being said, it was very satisfyingly salty and crunchy.
I had corn soup - a special- which was cold and velvety with pleasant contrasting garnishes- strawberries, pickled something, and ricotta. Also had cavatelli with mushrooms and soybeans which was rich without being heavy. Husband had 25 Min egg (vegetarian version) and beans with pecans and grits. He enjoyed it. We shared a panna cotta for dessert was quite tasty. We are not without complaints, though. The decor was a bit meh, but I'm also very very over taxidermy and any attempt to do a post modern riff on taxidermy. I think for a hotel that caters to an "art crowd" it was a detrimental choice that they will soon regret. Also, our waiter was great, but I did notice that the couple next to us got bread, while we didnt. I asked a different server for some bread, and the couple next to us was served a second helping of bread while we were ignored. I thought that was poor form. The sour apple cotton candy really helped cheer me up.
Tusk and Trotter
We had a dinner here that was perfectly yummy, although not as stand out as the one at Hive. I ruined my appetite on fries and could not enjoy my burger. Husband had the Vegetarian Picnic which I judged as quite yummy from the few bites I was allowed. We shared Mint chip ice cream that was a bit icy. Good selection of local, nanobreweries.
This was the real gem of our trip! We popped in hoping they'd have a root beer, and left after a delightful, delicious lunch. This is a small eatery that has a very limited menu. We had kale salad with beans and a watermelon gazpacho. And a few small sides, marinated artichoke hearts, lentil pate. Very impressive, blessedly simple use of local produce. We strongly recommend it. They serve Airship coffee, roasted in Bentonville and had chemex on the shelf. We strongly recommend Heirloom.
Onyx Coffee Lab:
Husband was getting twitchy for a nano roast coffee. He was very happy with the pour over made for him here. Less happy with the beans he bought and brought home.
Fossil Cove Brewery:
Small brewery tap room tucked in industrial park. Husband was very happy. Me, I'm 8 months pregnant, and very jealous of his beers.