Wednesday, March 19, 2014

LR Restaurant Review: The Main Cheese


Last month, a new restaurant opened in West Little Rock.  Not far from my office, The Main Cheese moved into a local shopping center and looked promising.  They completely gutted the existing space and are currently adding a cute patio.  When we had guests in town last week, I knew it was time to give this place a try.

Now, you might be thinking, what can a vegan eat at a gourmet grilled cheese restaurant?  Turns out, quite a few things.  I would, however, love it if they carried some vegan cheese for the occasional veg head that comes through their doors.  Baby steps.



On one of the prettiest days we've had this spring, Josh and I met up with some girlfriends after work and were impressed by the modern decor.  There's definitely a Little Rock vibe, complete with the Arkansas cutting board and wood walls so reminiscent of other restaurants in town (like Big Orange and Local Lime.)





We sat in a big booth in the back and looked over the menu.  Immediately, I was intrigued by their caponata.  Being the eggplant lover that I am, I had to order it.  Their vegetarian items are clearly marked (although they don't designate vegan or not.)  Josh and I split the caponata while we looked at the rest of the menu.

The wait staff is a little on the young side, and a couple of my questions had our waitress a big off her game, but when our food was brought out the manager made sure everything was perfect.




The eggplant/tomato dip was delicious!  The pita bread was a bit on the hard side, but the dip was warm and flavorful.  I would have enjoyed eating it with a fork just as much as on the pita.  It was really good.  I can't wait to try their hummus the next time I go.

I really wanted soup and a salad, but none of their soups were vegan.  I had my eye on the tomato soup, but they informed me that there's a little heavy cream, so I passed.  Instead, I ordered the southwest quinoa salad.  The salad comes with the "house vinaigrette," and the waitress wasn't sure what was in it.  So, I asked for it on the side.  When the salad came out, brought by the manager, I knew instantly the dressing was a mayo based.  Not really much of a vinaigrette, as it looked more like ranch.  I asked for some balsamic instead and they were happy to oblige.



The salad was fantastic.  There was a lot of avocado, beans, quinoa and pumpkin seeds.  It was definitely filling.  I'm excited to try their asian salad when I go back.  They also have a veggie sandwich that looks like it would be good without the cheese.

Overall, I think we'll be coming back.  The food is good and the atmosphere is relaxed.  Plus, it's less than a mile from my office.  I'll report back when I try more things!

  The Main Cheese on Urbanspoon

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for this review! Yeah, that quinoa salad looks great and I wouldn't think about a place called The Main Cheese having many vegan options, haha, so thank you!

    Have you heard about/eaten at Green Leaf Grill yet? They are a new-ish lunch place in the Blue Cross Blue Shield building downtown. Just got an email confirmation from their registered dietician on staff that they are very vegan-friendly! Woohoo! Think I'm going to check them out for lunch tomorrow!
    Here's a link to their website, where you can access their menu (changes weekly) - http://eurestdining.compass-usa.com/GLG/Pages/CafeHoursContacts.aspx?LocationID=1.

    And here's a blog post about them with fun photos! I like the look of the atmosphere - http://fancypantsfoodie.com/2014/01/24/cafeteria-food-gets-awesome-at-green-leaf-grill/.

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    1. I have not heard of that yet! You'll have to report back and let me know how it is. It looks really fun!

      Solfood Catering is having another dinner next Thursday at the Green Corner Store. The last one was so amazing, I'm definitely going to try to go.

      Yay for evolving vegan food in Little Rock!

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  2. I love how vegans can really eat almost anywhere this days! Just a few adjustments here and there. That caponata looks good!

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    1. Absolutely! I don't like to rule out any place until I've gone a few times. I can usually pull a meal together anywhere.

      The caponata was really good. Definitely want to go back and try the hummus.

      I have noticed a big change in menu items in just the 6 years that I've been eating this way. Who knows what the future holds!

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  3. Okay, so the Green Leaf Grill was pretty interesting. I can't say that I was wowed by the food this time around, but there were plenty of options I wasn't able to try so I plan on going back for sure. It's cafeteria style and they were pretty busy when we arrived so we went for the shortest line, which was a hot bar with a meat and several veggies already cooked and ready to go. Drew and I both got 3 vegetable/side dishes - snap peas with eggplant, mixed Mediterranean vegetables and Spanish rice. They had roasted beets too, which I really wanted to try, but they had cheese in them for some reason. They did verify that the other veggies were cooked in oil, not butter. The veggies were just okay, but keeping veggies warm under a heat lamp can alter their texture and such. The eggplant was a little rubbery and tough and the asparagus in the Med. veggies was also a little tough, but they were seasoned nicely. They have a made-to-order bar with a rotating dish, so sometimes that will have veggie options and sometimes not, depending on what they are offering that day. They always have a vegan black bean burger in their grill line, but it was a long line so I'll try that another time. And they have a good-lookin' salad bar! They had what they were calling a "Hummus superfood bowl" in their deli line that I almost chose, but it was very similar to what I brought for lunch yesterday (haha), so I went with the hot veggies. But, all of that to say, I really appreciate so many veggie options in one place and I'll definitely go back to check out some of the other options!

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    1. Thanks for the report! Haha :) it sounds like they do have a ton of options and a variety of things, which is great! Warm heat lamp veggies are rarely great, but they work in a pinch.

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