Sunday, April 22, 2007


Sakura Japanese Restaurant Steakhouse & Sushi Bar
4011 E Kiehl Avenue
Sherwood, Arkansas
Sakura Website

Sushi done wrong can be really bad. For instance, never eat sushi at a Chinese buffet. And though I've never tried it, I suspect you should never eat sushi from the frozen section at Sam's.

But done right, it can be a delightful experience.

We stayed with a fairly conservative menu at Sakura this evening trying several of the rolls and a couple of single pieces to round it out. The Spicy Salmon Roll was a deliciously spicy (hence the name) roll of cooked salmon and rice that needed only the tiniest dab of soy sauce to complete the flavor. Pieces of the egg omelet sushi and some bits of pickled ginger freshened the palate between bites. We tried a few pieces of the salmon sushi which was so very tender and flavorful, being a deep red and about room temperature when we ate it. The red snapper was good, but not remarkable. The spicy octopus roll was a burst of flavor with an interesting texture, but the star of the show was the spicy crunchy shrimp roll. Fabulous crisp fried shrimp, rolled with rice and drizzled with a spicy (chipotle?) sauce. It was a very pleasing texture in the mouth as well as an exciting flavor that warmed the throat for sometime afterwards.

A good fried rice and some great fried gyoza topped it off and I was too full to get around to the eel or the shrimp asparagus roll. But I intend to explore those options next time.

All in all, a good experience in a clean and friendly environment.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Roma Italian Restaurant

2650 John Harden Dr
Jacksonville, AR 72076
(501) 982-8057

I was pleasantly surprised at lunch today. I heard of this place by word of mouth and was glad to confirm that it lives up to the recommendation. The smells as we walked in for lunch pretty much told us that it would.

I went to wash my hands and check out the restrooms, a good barometer of restaurant cleanliness. It was very clean and well stocked with towels and soap. When I came back there was a basket of wonderful homemade bread and a great big bowl of butter. The bread was warm and I nearly would have made a meal of it. Our waitperson brought us a bowl of olive oil with garlic in it. The garlic is fresh and not roasted like you get at the big chain places. Very nice.

We started with salad and the house Italian is an unusual tomato-basil vinegrette with a bold punch of flavor. My companions thought it a bit much and didn't eat all of theirs.

The lunch menu is well appointed with all of the classics including spaghetti and lasagna. The "sampler" has lasagna, rigatoni and spinach ravioli. It looked really good, but I didn't try any of the other's dishes. I had the eggplant stuffed with ricotta cheese and covered with marinara sauce and baked with mozzarella cheese on top. It was very good and the eggplant was tender and flavorful.

I suspect the red marinara sauce on everyone's dish comes from the same pot which tends to make lasagna taste like ravioli taste like... you get the idea.

All in all, a very postive experience and a departure from the cookie cutter Italian eateries at the shopping malls. We skipped dessert, but a couple of the items looked to be unique. Don't hesitate to try this place.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Terrace on the Green

2200 N. Rodney Parham

When it comes to Mediterranean cuisine, what comes up in your mind first? Italian? Greek? Moroccan? Or all of the above? Well, should you be interested, this restaurant surely has quite a select few from each style that can be sampled with.

Me and my friends stumbled across this restaurant while searching through the phone book hungrily for a new place to eat. Something fresh, something we haven’t tried before. And, it was our lucky day!

It’s a small place in an office building on Rodney Parham. It is small, yet neatly arranged and I didn’t feel the slightest discomfort usually associated with a confined, crowded place. It was quite cozy, warm and friendly.

We enjoyed some warm flat bread and butter while contemplating our order. My lunch today was broiled salmon topped with cream sauce, fresh vegetables and rice, sprinkled with olive oil and parsley.

Although I immediately felt guilty for not having ordered the Chicken Almondain, which would have been some thing more exotic for me, there was not a trace of guilt after I took my first bite into the fish. It was fresh, flaky and smoky. The cream sauce was sweet, creamy, yet not overwhelmingly cheesy, which elegantly complemented the perfectly broiled salmon.

As my friend pointed out, the dishes here were light, yet very flavorful and exciting. The total for the three of us, including drinks, was a little over $30.00, quite a bargain for something this refreshing and delightful.

This is definitely a place we should go back and revisit. There is still a lot to go into on their menu. i.e. My Friends Chicken, Flaming Cheese (Saganaki - a salty, aromatic Greek cheese appetizer, Kaeiri Cheese flamed with brandy, in case you were wondering) and Lamb Shank (hmmm, I can already feel the juice running down my chin...).

Friday, April 06, 2007

Terrace on the Green

2200 N. Rodney Parham, Little Rock, Arkansas

Being unfamiliar with the area, we had a small bit of trouble finding the restaurant. Rodney Parham Road is confusing in its numbering, starting out at 100 at Markham Street, then you pass 9700 and 10000 pretty quickly, and by the time we got to 12500 I was on the cell phone asking for directions. The friendly female voice guided us in as the street numbers continued to climb and then we made a hard right turn and the numbers dropped back down to 2200 again.

Having overcome that hurdle, we found ourselves being ushered into a cozy dining room set with linens and china. I started to wonder just how spendy this would turn out to be. I think I let out a big breath when I peeked at the lunch menu and saw nearly every entree was priced under eight dollars.

In fact my choice, Pasta Arabiatta, was only $4.50. And I didn't choose that being the cheapskate that I am, I chose it because it sounded good. And it was. A spicy blend of sun dried tomatoes, diced eggplant and chili peppers served on a bed of linguini, it was a marvelous flavor. I began to sniffle a little, but the heat was just right for the dish.

We also tried a salmon dish with a delectible cream sauce and the chicken slouvakia with was perfectly prepared chunks of succulent chicken tossed with a citrussy blend of onions and tomatoes on a bed of fluffy rice pilaf. All of this served with a nice basket of flat bread and butter.

I thoroughly enjoyed each of the three dishes that we tried and would put this on the list of places to come back and explore the menu a bit deeper. A lot to recommend it. Go at lunch for the bargain it is, or spend twice as much at dinner for a charming date destination.