Terry’s Finer Foods Brings a Taste of France to Little Rock

It’s been a year since Terry’s Finer Foods, the venerable grocery in the Heights, turned its extra space into a small French bistro catering to the culinary cravings of both Little Rock locals and their esteemed guests.

Within that year, we’ve heard lots of rave reviews about the restaurant’s impeccable service and unique French-themed menu, devised by Chef Patrick Herron, formerly of Beechwood Grill in Hillcrest. We figured it was high time we popped in to see for ourselves if the flattering buzz was true.

We dropped in on a cool, rainy day in early spring and were immediately embraced by Terry’s dark, quiet dining room. Terra cotta-colored walls adorned by artwork depicting French scenes and illuminated by soft lighting were calming and comforting after a nerve-jangling Monday. Yellow tablecloths covered diminutive tables that could easily be pushed together to accommodate larger groups. Soft jazz playing in the background added to the intimate vibe. We felt transported; we could have easily been in France, ducking into a small cafe on a lazy afternoon.

Since we arrived just after Terry’s dinnertime opening at 5:30 p.m. on a Monday, we were the only patrons, and we chose a table near the well-stocked corner bar and admired the rows of wine and spirits.

Moments after we were seated, our attentive waitress delivered a lengthy wine list, poured water from a green glass decanter into short water glasses and served us complimentary Boulevard Bread Co. bread with sweet, creamy butter. We declined the wine, but had we wanted to imbibe, the list included around 50 different types, among them champagne and sparkling wines, reds, whites, roses and dessert wines, as well as Terry’s own Napa Valley Maison Rouge, that was printed with a custom label and prominently featured on each table.

We did not, however, decline an appetizer; we ordered the baked brie ($6.75), which was served bubbling hot in a ceramic dish. It had a bit more bite than your typical brie, which was nice, and the portion was more than enough for two. Some of the other appetizer options included an onion gratinee ($5.95) and a quattro fromage pizza ($9).

As we polished off the brie, a salmon mousse accompanied by toast points was delivered to our table “on the house.” Words can’t describe the smoky, creamy decadence of the mousse, which was topped with tiny pieces of briny pickle. I think our empty serving plate spoke volumes to the dish’s success.

We chose smaller entrees: the shrimp Provençale ($17.95) and the roasted chicken quarter ($13.95), the latter of which we ordered with white meat and hoped it would be juicy, not dry. We were not disappointed. The chicken arrived cooked to perfection, with the wing still attached, and was delightfully juicy and flavorful. It just may have been the best chicken breast we’ve ever tasted—seriously. It was flavored with Herbes de Provence and Piment d’Esplette, and it made our mouths water.

The shrimp dish featured ample-sized, firm shrimp smothered in a delicate but savory tomato sauce. We tasted a rich undertone of white wine and garlic in the sauce, which was a quite pleasing combination.

Both dishes were accompanied by a beautiful, buttery pomme puree (basically, mashed potatoes) and a seasonable green vegetable, sautéed spinach in our case. The spinach tasted smooth and buttery as well, and there wasn’t even a hint of bitterness.

Other dinner options we’d like to try in the future include the 8 oz. center cut filet ($24.95) and the magret duck breast with peppercorn sauce ($22.95).

The finale to our meal at Terry’s was a slice of the gateâu au chocolate, a flourless chocolate cake served with raspberry sauce and fresh whipped cream. Dense and smooth, the gateâu was a decadent end to an already impressive meal.

So, was Terry’s all we hoped it would be? As they say in France, oui! They’ll be seeing us a lot this year.

Breakfast: 7:30-9:30 a.m. Monday-Saturday

Lunch: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Dinner: 5-9:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and 5:30-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday

5018 Kavanaugh Blvd., (501) 663-4154, Restaurant@TerrysFinerFoods.com

Related Articles