There are some restaurant experiences that, for us, mark the passage of time. As cooler weather creeps in and the mosquitos take a break, we like to venture from our air-conditioned caves out to the patios and porches of some of the old standbys to take in the early September scenery, look upon lovely downtown views, and enjoy a culinary experience worthy of the price. Brave New Restaurant has always been that place for us. It’s a place preceded by its reputation, but our trips lately make us feel as though we’re missing out on whatever it is that warrants its standing among the top restaurants in Little Rock.
On a recent Friday night, the patio at Brave New hosted some of Little Rock’s upper crust. Older men sat relaxed in their
When asked by Brave how everything had been, a patron at a nearby table joked that the cucumber soup was exceptional, although monochromatic. Brave responded ably, complimenting his competent line cooks for their execution.
The seafood and ancho chile soup ($6.50) was unexceptional, bereft as it was of seafood. That’s not entirely true; we did manage to dredge up one piece of shrimp that was quite good, but lonely. There
The heirloom tomato salad ($14) was an absolute pleasure. Fresh and meaty Arkansas heirloom tomatoes were sliced and served with a sumptuous and creamy burrata cheese, corn and jalapeno relish, and beautiful micro greens. A bit of balsamic drizzle offered a tangy touch. This dish was at once light and rich, the perfect appetizer.
For dinner, we gave the Mushroom Wellington ($17) a chance. The dish is described as a “mushroom
We fared better with the scallops dinner special ($32). Four goodly sized scallops came in a rich saffron
Brave New is nothing if not consistent. In general, you’ll get good food and a pretty place to sit. The scallops are always a sure thing. But recent trips to similarly priced culinary gems in Memphis and Dallas have got us thinking a bit more broadly about our food scene. Is Brave New worth the ticket price? And would it hold up in other markets — and increasingly, this one — where a $25 plate gets you inventive dishes with interesting flavors and tasteful presentation? It’s a question worth asking. In the meantime, we’ll remember our experience as one diner did the cucumber soup: tasty but otherwise lacking.
Brave New Restaurant
2300 Cottondale Lane, No. 105
We made no mistakes with special dishes. The heirloom tomatoes and the scallops dinner special were absolutely the highlights. Brave New has a variety of dinner salads. If our side house and Caesar salads are any
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Saturday.
Patio seating. Full bar. Credit cards accepted.