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!