Tuesday, March 25, 2014
LR Restaurant Review: YaYa's Bistro
Last Thursday was date night, and it was also one of the warmest days we've had in Little Rock this year. Josh had originally planned to take me to the soft opening of BJ's Brewhouse, but we didn't know we needed a reservation, so when I called to see if their menu was vegan friendly, I got told I wasn't eating there this week. Sigh. Oh well, it didn't look that friendly anyway. I'm sure I'll check it out at some point, because they have a kale and brussels sprout salad.
So, we were left scrambling to decide where date night was going to happen. Being so beautiful outside, I wanted a patio. When it's pretty, I want to walk around, and when I want a date night involving walking, I often point us to The Promenade. It's ritzy, but Lululemon is out there, and so are a few local eateries like Big Orange and Local Lime. I really wanted something I had never tried before, so we decided on Ya Ya's Euro Bistro.
I immediately saw several items on the menu I wanted to try. There were multiple salads that could be made vegan, as well as some pasta dishes and sides. It's usually a good sign when I see quinoa or beets on a menu, so I knew we'd be ok.
Their patio is very nice. It's full of comfy chairs, couches and tables. The only down side is that the chairs are very low and laid back, which makes sitting up to eat a bit on the awkward side.
Since it was beautiful, and since I am releasing my grip on detox ever so slightly, I ordered a cucumber basil cocktail.
It was delicious, but it took me an hour to drink it and I was pretty giggly afterwards. I had an amazing conversation with a good friend yesterday, and she really put the whole drinking thing in perspective. She told me, "It's better to be a person who drinks rarely than someone who rarely not drinks." That resonated with me, for sure.
I was really hungry, so we ordered their hummus (feta on the side for Josh) to start. The flavor was good, but it was super runny, which was a little off putting. The pita bread was great, though. Very warm and fluffy, with nice grill marks. Josh let me have both olives. That's love, people.
I wanted something healthy, and while I was tempted by the beet salad, I went for kale. I ordered it no cheese, add quinoa, and after the vinaigrette mishap at The Main Cheese, I asked for their dressing on the side too.
When it came out, I thought, "Great, here is another restaurant that doesn't know what vinaigrette is." I thought there was no way that was vegan, so I asked the waitress to go ask the chef. She came back and assured me that the thickness came from cooking down apricots. They take their vinaigrette and add the cooked fruit, no dairy or eggs. I tried it, and it was definitely sweet.
As for the salad... Don't get me wrong. I love kale, but when ordering a kale salad, I guess I thought it would have been massaged in lemon juice or prepped in some way to take the bitterness out. Maybe I don't like raw kale? The dressing made this more edible, but in the end, I ate the quinoa and onions most of all. I won't order this again. The apricots were too sweet for my taste buds, and while the fennel was good, overall it just wasn't my cup of tea. Next time, I'll go for the beets!