Excursion Spotlight: Basil's ... Familiar Name, Exceptional Fare
halibut with spicy green beans, pepper bacon, pickled onions and a port-reduction sauce was also alive with sweet, tart and salty flavors
photography by Janet Warlick
We became card-carrying fans of Basil’s Café a few years back after visiting their former location in the Village on the Creeks. That was several years ago, and we were delighted to happen upon their new location in the Shoppes at Pinnacle Hills. They’ve got a new ultra sophisticated interior, yet a laid-back atmosphere, and Wade Jones, owner, is still a stellar kind of fellow.
“Our move to this location has allowed us to be a part of the action,” Jones said. “I’m not one of those who believes you cannot be near another restaurant.” He and wife Kelly closed Basil’s Café in August 2008 and took some time to plan the new location. During their sabbatical, they visited friends in New York. While there, they began to plan the look and feel of the new location. Working with friend/decorator Christopher Matson, Kelly established an elegant and intimate dining room complete with a beautiful, modern angular door; blonde-colored vine sconces and chandeliers; champagne and crème colored tablecloths; banquettes; and tabletop seating. A mural featuring an Asian warrior and aged mirrors compliment the space. These elements golf course and in polos and shorts. One way in which more casual customers long with excellent customer service create an ideal dining experience. However, Jones wants customers to feel at home, whether they are dressed “to the nines” or just off the gare accommodated is with seating in the bar, which includes a television.
Of course, all of this would be for naught if the food were not the star — fret not — the fare at Basil’s is ambrosial.
We enjoyed two of Basil’s most popular small plates — duck manicotti, which was absolutely delicious, and cheese fries. The words “cheese fries” may invoke an image of Velveeta poured over crinkle cut potatoes. Dismiss it, quickly. These pommes frites are served with a champagne Brie fondue, bacon and chives … one order and you’ll want another.
We were pleasantly-surprised to find what’s normally considered casual fare on the menu, but it’s all a part of Jones’ master plan: “We didn’t want people to feel you must be dressed up to eat here.”
Next up, the divine blackened scallops served with spinach risotto, lemon leblanc sauce and sweet corn jus. This dish’s flavors were well balanced, and it was delectable. The halibut with spicy green beans, pepper bacon, pickled onions and a port-reduction sauce was also alive with sweet, tart and salty flavors that one may assume would be incongruous; however, they created a harmonious marriage for the taste buds. Next we sampled what Jones called his employees’ addition — the blackened Verona: grilled chicken with morel mushrooms, a Creole parmesan sauce and noodles … truly, habit forming. Stuffed and more than satisfied, we somehow managed to enjoy a New York strip steak with lobster risotto … luxurious. Committed to the mission, and to our readership, we ventured on into the world of desserts, sampling a key lime tart and crème brulee, each served with fresh strawberries, and chocolate bread pudding served ala mode with housemade peanut butter ice cream … each a fine finish to a grand meal.
You may be wondering … isn’t Basil’s an Italian restaurant? No, Jones points out basil is just one of many spices in Italian fare … again, fret not; you’ll love every bite of non-Italian food at Basil’s.
3300 Market St. • Suite 136 • Rogers, AR •
(479) 464-4190 • basilscafenwa.com
Mon. through Fri., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 to 9 p.m.,
Sat., 5 to 9 p.m.