In our Lunching in Little Rock blog series, Michael Kirkpatrick will explore and review the city’s best restaurants – all in time to get back to the office. This week, Michael ate lunch at Maddie’s Place. Click here to read more in this series. Photo by Maggie McNeary.
Good seafood in landlocked Arkansas – is it even possible? With modern transportation and refrigeration, it’s possible to get the delights of the sea at any corner of the Earth, but that doesn’t mean that the food is good quality, obtained sustainably, or will even taste good. Preparing good seafood is an art and when you find an artist that does it well, treasure the find. Maddie’s Place is seafood done right, right here in Little Rock.
The small restaurant is nestled in between some other long-standing Riverdale restaurants, but has held its own with the established names since 2009. Chef Brian Deloney worked as a sous chef in New Orleans and Las Vegas before returning to Little Rock in 2007, according to the Maddie’s Place website. After helping reopen the Capital Hotel, he started his own restaurant. The interior of Maddie’s is cozy with small tables and booths, as well as plenty of seats at the bar. The restaurant is packed with a variety of executives, ladies’ groups and even a couple of retired politicians. The servers greet many of the patrons by name and bring them their favorite drinks without asking.
The menu is robust, but there are handy lunch specials. Though I have been known to make a fool of myself by consuming ridiculous amounts of shrimp, today I went with a Creole staple: the Fried Oyster Po-Boy, which was accompanied by truffle-topped French fries. If that wasn’t decadent enough, I also ordered a smoked salmon dip appetizer. The dip was creamy and chock full of perfectly smoky salmon. The Oyster Po-Boy was beautiful. Big juicy fried oysters lay atop flaky French bread with hearty tomatoes and lettuce. The remoulade sauce is clearly house-made. The truffle fries may have stolen the show; they were perfect shoestrings, lightly fried, topped with salt and truffle oil. Needless to say, there was not a crumb of fries left on my plate at the end of the meal.
Maddie’s Place is certainly a far cry from the fast food filet-o-whatever you may get somewhere else. Head down to Riverdale and let the fine folks at Maddie’s treat you to a relaxing lunch of fine seafood and Southern hospitality.