Some places just do their thing, year after year, solid and steady. These mainstays are the ones we head to when we just want something comforting, familiar, and delicious — and Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro is high on my list of places that fit the bill nicely. The menu is straightforward, but it’s executed well. The portions are huge, meaning I’ve usually got a snack for later to take with me. It’s one of the few places I can think of where I’ve never had a truly bad meal.
If you’ve never been to Dizzy’s before, this may happen to you (unless you listen to me): You sit down, you open the menu and there before you is something called “Award-Winning Le Petit Roche Cheese Dip.” You’ll be intrigued. Then you’ll see the price, $8.99, and say to yourself, “Nine bucks for cheese dip?! What kind of award did this stuff win, a Nobel Prize?!”
Just calm down. They don’t give Nobel Prizes in cheese dip. Although they should.
But yes, it’s a nine dollar order of cheese dip, and yes you should totally go ahead and order it, because you will get every single penny of that nine dollars out of this wonderful queso. First, you’ll understand the price when the massive soup bowl full of luscious cheese hits the table with a veritable laundry basket full of multi-colored tortilla chips. The dip comes topped with sour cream and pico de gallo; the sour cream is optional if you don’t like it, but you must not ask them to remove the pico. This tangy, spicy tomato salsa adds a fresh, bright kick to the dip that’s simply excellent. This is, in my humble opinion, one of the top cheese dips in the state and worth a trip to Dizzy’s all by itself. And what award did this dip win? None other than the World Cheese Dip Championship — and against stiff competition, too.
Of course the wife and I didn’t head to Dizzy’s just for cheese dip. I ordered the Reuben, and I think the Dizzy’s version is just top notch. Unlike some versions of this classic that douse everything with sickly sweet Thousand Island dressing, Dizzy’s goes a spicier route with a horseradish mayo that approaches overwhelming but holds back just enough to let the sauerkraut and corned beef shine. The whole affair comes piled between two slices of marbled rye, and like everything else at Dizzy’s, it’s a huge portion of tasty food. The standard fries are just frozen crinkle cuts with a little season salt on them, but with a sandwich this big they usually don’t get much attention anyway.
The wife ordered a cheese burger and was gifted with a slab of beef on a bun that I swear grew back every time she took a bite. Seriously, she ate on that burger for 20 minutes and it looked almost the same on the plate every time she’d put it down. This burger is BIG. It’s also tasty, as Dizzy’s has a unique way of spicing their beef that we found quite tasty. Little Rock is no slouch in the burger department, but this one stands out as one of the best.
Every restaurant has its foibles, but when the food is this tasty we tend to overlook them. Service is chaotic but they get the job done eventually, and they’re friendly. But honestly, we barely noticed anything when were face down in that bowl of cheese dip — it’s one of downtown’s star attractions.