What’s cooking

The Chi family, led by Bill and Lulu Chi, will be adding another restaurant to their growing holdings with the opening this weekend of Koto Bistro-Tappanyaki-Sushi. The Japanese restaurant is taking the space on Chenal Parkway vacated a few months back by Vermillion Italian Bistro.


Lunch bento boxes will range from $5.50 for vegetable tempura to $7.95 for salmon or shrimp teriyaki. Hibachi entrees start at $7.95, and the sushi bar has various combos starting at $8.95.

Dinner appetizers cover the gamut, from soft shell crab to tataki (tuna or beef) to lettuce wraps. Entrees also have a wide range, from scallops and seabass to Japanese favorites such as udon (a broth that can include shrimp tempura or special noodles and vegetables) or Kobe-style steak. Dinner hibachi prices start at $11.95 for vegetables and go to $26.95 for the New York strip and salmon combo. A children’s dinner is available.


The Chis own three versions of their Chi’s Chinese Restaurant in Little Rock, as well as Sekisui, a Japanese sushi and steakhouse eatery on Shackleford. They recently sold Crazy Hibachi in North Little Rock’s Lakewood Village.

Koto’s address is 17200 Chenal Parkway. The phone number is 821-7200.


Schapiro’s on Central in Hot Springs has changed hands. Jay and Mary Schapiro have sold the restaurant and blues bar to Tony and Karen Smith. The name is expected to be changed in a couple of months to Magnolia’s. The restaurant is in the historic bathhouse district of the Spa City.

Chef Edward of Cafe 42, the restaurant in the Clinton Presidential Center, will be the featured chef for this month at the River Market Cooking Class program. The event is 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, July 22, in the third floor meeting room of the River Market. The cost is $10, and participants will pick up some tips from the chef as well as sample the food.

Capsule review

UPDATE: BUBBA AND GARCIA’S Not many restaurants offer chicken fried steak and enchiladas Espanola, but this brightly painted Rebsamen Road eatery is ambidextrous, and we like it a lot. Bubba’s has a flair with Southwestern fare. The chicken we added to our enchiladas was a little too authentic — it included a little gristle — but that aside, tucked into blue corn enchiladas topped with white cheeses and a spicy red sauce it was a stand-out, classier than other enchiladas around town and delicious. The calabacitas side order — squash, corn, eggplant and pico de gallo — was super, kicked into high gear by fresh cilantro and spices. (Alas, the accompanying chicken tortilla lacked luster.) A neighbor was enjoying the non-pre-packaged chicken fried steak special ($6.75), and we mean really enjoying it, groaning a bit as he pushed away from the table. The decor is colorful and cheery, with a big yellow Corona sign painted on a long wall opposite the bar, and our waiter was helpful and friendly. What else do you want from a restaurant? 1615 Rebsamen Park Road. Beer, wine, tequila. CC $-$$ 660-4200 LD Mon.-Sat.