With the reopening of Little Rock’s Capital Hotel in May, the reopening of Capital Bar & Grill, the hotel’s ‘second’ main restaurant and one of the city’s most popular watering holes.
The hotel’s flagship restaurant, One Eleven at the Capital, while open for breakfast, remains closed for lunch and dinner. Executive chef Brad Izzard, who arrived on board over the summer, has turned some of his attention to the CB&G menu, which now features a handful of high-end entrees in addition to leftovers from former chefs. cuisine – especially the more popular perennials like the Premium 7oz Burger and the shared appetizers (i.e., chili cheese dip and homemade Parmesan fries).
One thing is certain: the popularity of CB&G is as great or greater than before the pandemic; it wasn’t as crowded the last time we looked at it, in June 2019, around the time former chef James Hale took it over. The staff are fully masked and sometimes gloved on, but if you’re still into social distancing, that just doesn’t happen here. We managed to land a table for dinner, but the place was packed at lunchtime and the bar seats were played by unmasked cheeks.
The physical layout has remained the same for many years, prevalent, as we observed a few years ago, with the charm of the Old World, old wood, the central bar dominating the “landscape” with solid pillars like the rock supporting a “roof” and solid wood tables and chairs that surround it on three sides.
All of these customers make it very loud, and we would not currently recommend it as a comfortable place to have a conversation while you dine. Sitting at the bar for the first time in years, we were impressed with the selection of scotches and cognacs on the shelves by the bar door.
The prices are high – this is, after all, a hotel restaurant, so we certainly expected it – but not as high as they would have been if we had dined at One Eleven, even for the top two entrees range that we appreciated. .
We were a little confused before ordering the Milanese Chicken ($ 24), largely because the spelling was, well, unconventional – for an Italian restaurant, the menu makers would have spelled it ‘Milanese’ or maybe “Milanesa” (meaning of course, “from Milan”, and consisting of coating thin slices of meat in eggs and seasoned breadcrumbs, then frying them). It may be a French adaptation.
Anyway, once the dish arrived, we didn’t care how it was spelled. We were delighted with the thick and surprisingly very tender, very chewy, lightly fried chicken breast, generously topped with arugula and fluffy grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese, on a bed of caper vinaigrette. Intrepid Companion’s only gripe was that it didn’t expect so much rocket, which it doesn’t particularly appreciate.
We reveled in our Steak Frites ($ 47), a 12-ounce New York strip pre-cut into manageable chunks and topped with chimichurri, with a side of Parmesan fries and, due to an apparent shortage of broccolini in the area. supply chain, kitchen- substituted asparagus. The steak was tender and cooked to perfection as we ordered; the fries were delicious and the asparagus was almost perfectly cooked.
We had $ 8 for the soup of the day (a bowl would have cost $ 10), a rich creamy mushroom; we usually prefer the large mushroom chunks, but it was tasty and with a slight sheen that we suspect came from the truffle oil – and who can complain?
At lunch we decided to revisit the Cuban ($ 16), a slightly gooey but satisfying sandwich with roast pork, sliced ham, Swiss cheese and dijonnaise on what the menu said was a toasted baguette, although ours came out on a flatter panini. bread. For our side, we chose the side salad (fries are also optional) – a nice selection of field greens, cucumber slices and red and yellow cherry tomatoes in a lightly sweet red wine vinaigrette.
Service was excellent for dinner and good for lunch – the more or less nimbly balanced bartender serving nearly a dozen customers for lunch with drinks for the people at the tables.
Capital Bar & Grill
- Address: Capital Hotel, 111 W. Markham St., Little Rock
- Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday
- Food: Top of the range “Confort du Sud”
- Alcoholic beverages: And how
- Wheelchair access: Yes
- Reservations: Yes
- (501) 374-7474