I caught up with a harried-but-excited Christina Basham today at the new Boulevard Bistro in the Heights. After many years of working with limited dining space in one of Little Rock’s favorite neighborhoods, the new bistro expansion is sure to please long-time fans with its open spaces, delightful wood tables and bar — and a full selection of alcohol to go along with a fantastic new menu. The space is going to launch Boulevard right into the mix of attractive places to have a casual dinner, and from the looks of the new menu, there’s going to be a lot of new things for diners to love.

Basham still doesn’t have a firm date on opening, and she told me that there was still one inspection the bistro had to pass before she could open up. The Boulevard Facebook page has been teasing “soon” for a few days now, and Basham seemed confident that it really will be “soon.” She seemed to think that a final decision could be possible as early as today or tomorrow, so I’ll follow up with her to see if we can nail down a starting date for dinner service. I was impressed by the new dining and bar area, and I think you all will be, too.

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Lunch patrons at the new bistro won’t see much difference in how things work — you’ll still place your order at the counter, just like now. Seating will be a far less stressful affair, though, because the wide open dining room offers three times (or more) the space that Boulevard has been working with. I’ve always thought a sandwich or pastry from Boulevard was a treat to be savored, and now they’ll have the space to allow patrons to do just that.

Dinner is where the majority of changes will be felt, and they are all good ones. Unlike lunch, dinner service will be a full service affair, with runners servicing tables, sit down ordering, and a full lineup of drinks, starters, entrees, soups, and salads. Charcuterie fans like myself will also be happy with the selection of meats and cheeses the bistro will have available — pick any three from a list that includes house-made duck rillettes, house pork confit, St. Andre and Humboldt Fog cheeses all for $15. Check out the rest of the goodies below.

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Boulevard Bistro Menu

Starters

*Basque olives with toasted almonds ($4)
*Frites with curry ketchup and aioli ($3.75)
*Arancini di Riso ($9)
*Pork belly confit ($9)
*Pate de Campagne ($7)
*Duck rillettes ($10)
*Smoked salmon ($9)
*Portuguese mussels ($12)

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Entrees

*Steak frites ($27)
*Coq au vin ($18)
*Bone-in pan roasted local pork chop ($18)
*Pappardelle Bolognese ($14)
*Parisian gnocchi ($14)
*Fish (market availability)

Sandwiches

*Boulevard Bistro burger ($12)
*Portobello mushroom burger ($9)
*Grilled Falling Sky chicken sandwich ($11)
*Fried mortadella ($8)

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Soup & Salad

*Soup of the day ($4 cup/$4.95 bowl)
*Carrot & kale salad ($6/9)
*Apple-celery root salad ($6/9)
*Farmer’s harvest ($6/9)
*Salad Lyonaisse ($9)

Sides

*Mashed potatoes ($3)
*Roasted roots ($4)
*Brussels sprouts ($4)
*Risotto ($5)
*Cauliflower gratin ($5)

Kids

*Cheeseburger, grilled Falling Sky chicken, or pasta ($7)