Around the Rock: Kemuri Delights Once Again, Kiyen’s … Not So Much

My weekly views…
Even after only two visits, I’m quite comfortable with saying Kemuri is one of our top restaurants in the area. There is no better sushi in town, and if you don’t believe me, spoil yourself with the Chef’s Choice Roll, a concoction of whatever suits Chef Alex that evening. My version had peppered tuna, blue crab and fried shrimp, along with a medley of sauces and crunchy tempura flakes.
Kiyen’s was off its game the other night. And although we had a large group of 15+ people, that’s no excuse for shoddy service and average to below average food. For starters, several of my tablemates’ dishes arrived well after many of us were finished our entrees. We were told “sushi comes out sooner than warm dishes,” but thirty minutes sooner? I had high hopes for the Golden Lobster Roll, but small chunks of bland lobster left me disappointed. My wife’s hibachi steak was overcooked to death and a spicy salmon roll left a lot to be desired. With Kemuri scratching my high-end sushi itch, it’s hard to imagine I’ll be back to Kiyen’s anytime soon.
Props to Local Lime. My previous experience was less than stellar, but after Friday night’s redeeming dinner, I’m back on the LL bandwagon. My guacamole, cheese dip and fish tacos were all fantastic, as were bites of the tres leches cake and Key lime tart. Service was fast and friendly and the atmosphere was its usually inviting self.
Speaking of redemption, the Katmandu MoMo food truck at last week’s Food Trucksgiving served up a dynamite dish of juicy beef momo, proving that my previous disappointing visit at the Main Street Food Truck Festival may have been an anomaly.
It’s not over-sized and won’t overwhelm you with its presentation, but The Works at Trio’s is easily one of the better sandwiches in Little Rock. Pimento cheese, poblano peppers, fried green tomatoes and bacon rest between two pieces of sourdough bread to form a creamy/salty/spicy combination of undeniably awesome flavors.
Desi Den’s buffet, as expected, proved to be less appealing than ordering fresh entrees off the menu. And that’s not to say the overall buffet was bad. It wasn’t … it was pretty darn good, but had fairly limited options. If you live closer to Little Rock, I’d opt for Star of India.
When ZAZA’s is on, that place is really on … as in, some of the best pizza in town, on. The margherita with its fresh cuts of mozzarella, chopped basil, tangy tomato sauce, and thin, chewy, yet crisp crust, was pizza perfection.
And the news…
The Good Earth Truck & Trees (food truck meet up) is this Thursday from 5-8 p.m. at The Good Earth Garden Center (15601 Cantrell Rd). “Join us for a magical night of delicious food, marshmallow roasting & Christmas tree shopping!” The Southern Gourmasian, Waffle Wagon, The Pie Hole, Hot Rod Wieners and Katmandu will be in attendance.
Eggshell’s Kitchen Co.’s Nog Off is Sunday, December 7th. The Nog Off is an annual competition to find Little Rock’s best egg nog recipe. “Tasting and voting will be held from 1 – 3 p.m., featuring David Burnette of South on Main as official judge. In addition, we’ll be holding a People’s Choice contest! Both winners will receive a $50 Eggshells Gift Card!”
The Historic Arkansas Museum’s 47th Annual Christmas Frolic and Open House is also on Sunday, December 7th from 1-4 p.m. (200 E. 3rd St). Admission is free and the event features live music, hot cider and ginger cake, dancing in the grog shop, pioneering games and much more!
Mosaic Templars Cultural Center’s Annual Holiday Open House is set for Sunday, December 7th from 2-5 p.m. (501 W. 9th St). “Enjoy the sounds of holiday music, arts & crafts for children, and the homemade decadence of baked sweet potato pies!” Also, be sure to check out the “Say it Ain’t Say’s Sweet Potato Pie Baking Contest” as Kelli Marks of Sweet Love goes for her third victory. Admission is free.
Ciao Baci will be doing a 20% bonus for all gift certificates of $50 or more purchased during December. A $50 gift card gets you a bonus $10 gift card and $100 gets a $20 bonus. Bonus gift cards are valid between January 2nd and March 31st, 2015 and cannot be used towards alcohol purchases or towards gratuity. Also, this Thursday, December 4th, the kitchen will also be sampling ham & brie crostini for Hillcrest’s 1st Thursday Shop ‘n Sip.
Natchez just started back with Wine Wednesdays–every week it’s 3 courses with wine pairings for $40 (includes soup/salad, off-menu entree and choice of dessert). Also, be sure to check out the Natchez Beer Dinner with Stone’s Throw Brewing on December 18th. The dinner features four courses with beer pairings for $60, along with live music by Kevin Kerby.

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