My first visit to Allsopp & Chapple took place about two years ago. It was an average experience, filled with uneven service and food that certainly was not good enough to justify paying a high sticker price again.
But as time has passed, glowing endorsements from diners have started popping up across social media and into my inbox. By most accounts, Allsopp was on an upward trajectory, so I wanted to see (and taste) firsthand if these accolades were true.
This past Saturday evening marked my return visit, a quick meal with my wife where we parked ourselves at the bar and split a house salad and filet. Before that, we polished off a couple of cocktails. My Catcher in the Rye with rye whiskey sherry, elderflower lemon, and honey was just not my thing, mainly because of its overly sweet and vaguely medicinal aftertaste. Unfortunately for my wife, I turned my attention to her A Night to Remember, a well-balanced drink starring mezcal with a strong supporting cast of apricot nectar, lemon juice, and blueberry-lavender syrup. This drink, along with the polished service of Greg and Emily behind the bar, have me excited about delving into more of Allsopp’s bar program.
As for the filet?
Let me just say it was one of the very best steaks I have eaten in Little Rock. Also, to the folks who act like a steak is not a steak unless it is a rib-eye, please give this 8-ounce, center-cut slab of meat a try. Because I am a sound-thinking human being, I requested it to be cooked medium-rare. The kitchen hit the mark. The pink center was soft to the bite and gave way to a crusty exterior with charred, crisscrossed grilled marks that added a subtle smokiness to each bite. The cab demi-glace added moisture to the dish, along with a hint of sweetness, while the accompanying creamy smashed potatoes came loaded with butter, cheddar cheese, green onion, and bits of bacon. What’s not to love about that? Thick stalks of tender asparagus topped off a perfect plate of food. At $45, there was no room for error, so compliments to the chef on hitting a home run with this memorable meal.
From start to finish, our entire experience at Allsopp & Chapple proved to be stellar, which is no small feat, especially nowadays when so many restaurants are dealing with staffing and service issues. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a restaurant that was previously middling in purgatory turn things around. Being an upscale establishment in the heart of Main Street, Allsopp is an important restaurant in Little Rock’s food scene.
Maintaining this high level of execution and consistency is critical in continuing to help draw people into downtown.
It was just one meal, but, unlike before, I am now excited to get back to Allsopp. You should be, too, if you aren’t already.
Allsopp & Chapple
311 Main Street
Hours: Monday-Saturday 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; Closed Sunday
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