Eastern Flames Restaurant Review

Eastern Flames recently opened in Little Rock on Cantrell road just west of Mississippi in the old Quizno’s spot. The restaurant first caught my eye because it advertised sushi, and the fanatic I am always appreciates a new sushi restaurant. Along with sushi, the restaurant serves various Hibachi and noodle dishes. The wine and beer list is actually pretty extensive for a Japanese restaurant.

Having been foiled twice on restaurant attempts during our last lunch date (the first place we wanted to go to was evidently closed, the second had a 30 minute wait), Jay and I decided to give Eastern Flames a try. The parking lot was pretty empty, and based on our greeting as we walked in the door I think Jay and I were the only customers.

The inside of the restaurant is a lot larger than it looks on the outside. The ambiance is nice too: the chairs and the booths are painted red and it’s slightly dark inside. Although this was ok for lunch, I’m sure it’s very nice for dinner.

Service was attentive, but even though we were the only ones there it was not overbearing. I was a little miffed that there was no sushi combo plate on the menu (there are sushi lunch combos, but that only includes 6 pieces, whereas I was hungry for more like twenty) so I went for a shrimp hibachi lunch special. Jay ordered the chicken hibachi lunch special. Our specials were accompanied by a choice of soup or salad; I had miso soup and Jay had a small salad. There’s just something about the saltiness of miso soup that makes me happy, and I always love the dressing that comes on salads in Japanese restaurants.

Needless to say, our lunches were ready and prepared very quickly, and the smell from the hibachi as they cooked was intoxicating. The spread on the plate was big enough to fill most any appetite (it filled me up, and that’s hard to do). About half of the plate was covered with fried rice cooked up with a little sesame seed. The other haf was split between grilled vegetables and my shrimp. We also had a choice of two dipping sauces; may favorite was slightly creamy and definitely had some wasabi mixed in.

Maybe I was just extremely hungry, but everything tasted amazing. The shrimp was not overcooked and perfectly seasoned. My vegetables were seasoned just enough to be nice and tasty but not so much that they were too salty, and they were cooked to just the right stage of doneness without becoming mushy. I stole a couple of bites of Jay’s chicken, and it was prepared similarly well. The shrimp and chicken were both ample on our plates, which I was thankful for. Jay and I devoured everything.

Lunch took less than 30 minutes, which was good for us because driving around so long looking for a place to eat took up a lot of time. Nevertheless, we never felt rushed. The more I ate, the more I really liked the place, and I think I’ve found a new favorite. My only concern is that the location does Eastern Flames in before it has a chance to really get off the ground, but I intend to devote enough time there to become a semi-regular.

My recommendation: go and try it!

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