I’ve long said that the Little Rock restaurants who have mastered consistency – both in food and service – are the ones most beloved in our community. The Pantry, The Faded Rose, Trio’s and Brave New Restaurant are just a few places that come to mind. Three Fold Noodle & Dumpling Co. is another. I imagine part of their winning formula is a precise execution of a fairly small menu centered on the almighty dumpling. Other dishes enter the equation, but the dumpling is front and center, as I once again found out on a recent visit.
I’ve never not gotten dumplings at Three Fold. In fact, I usually get an extra order to devour for lunch the following day. I mean, I am right there at the restaurant. Might as well make the trip count, right? Why waste a visit by not stocking up on those tasty little pockets of joy? A standard order comes steamed, which I prefer, but pan-fried dumplings are also available at a slightly additional cost and wait time. The mild-tasting filling (pork, chicken, or tofu) and doughy wrapper get a significant bump in flavor after a nice dousing of one of the four sauces (non-spicy, medium, spicy, or poison). Side note, if you are truly a fan of Three Fold’s condiment game, just know that each one is available to purchase by-the-jar. The poison sauce can be a bit overpowering for yours truly but lovers of heat probably won’t bat an eyelash. I tend to stick with spicy.
My new favorite menu item is the dumpling soup, which, as the name suggests, marries two of my favorite foods in the world: dumplings and soup. It comes with a spicy broth, loaded with slaw, carrots, green onion and cilantro, and six pillowy dumplings. The soup is hearty, so unless you’ve got a big appetite, expect to have plenty for leftovers.
Looking back on my meal, maybe I overdid things with my on-the-go appetizer, a bag of the deliciously addictive sweet and salty taro chips. My only complaint? Three Fold, please put more chips in the bag. I need more chips. Charge me more. I do not care, but I need more chips.
If you are looking for another entrée suggestion, the Noodle Bowl with house-made noodles, pickled veggies, green onion, and cilantro is another winner, as is the Half + Half Bowl, which comes with noodles and dumplings, giving folks the best of both worlds. Even the Salad Bowl with fresh spring greens, slaw, pickled veggies and a tea-scented, hard-boiled egg, is a nice, healthier option.
In the end, you really cannot go wrong with anything at Three Fold. Judging by the long lines from my past experiences and reading comments on my blog, many of you have not only embraced the food, but rank the restaurant in the upper echelon of offerings in Little Rock.
Here’s to future visits and a world filled with more dumplings!