Velo Rouge offers a fun, if somewhat rocky, dining ride.
THE NEW VELO VELO Vertex Locator ROUGE Brasserie bras·se·rie
A restaurant serving alcoholic beverages, especially beer, as well as food.
[French, from brasser, to malt, brew, from Old French bracier, from Vulgar Latin brings to downtown Little Rock a refreshing, unpretentious sense of culinary creativity, but it still seems to be ironing out the kinks.
The restaurant, with its finely tuned eclectic cuisine, demands a knowledgeable server, someone who can describe the menu offerings with passion and accuracy. Though friendly, our server didn't demonstrate such fluency. And while an eloquent server certainly would have enhanced our dining experience, the lack of one wasn't so unsettling un·set·tle
v. un·set·tled, un·set·tling, un·set·tles
1. To displace from a settled condition; disrupt.
2. To make uneasy; disturb.
v.intr. as to deter our return.
The menu, too, lacks descriptive powers, reading more like a list of ingredients at the beginning of a recipe. While we appreciate brevity, the menu's authors may have cut too quickly to the culinary chase.
The timing of the food was a bit off. The appetizer barely preceded our entrees, both coming about 25 minutes after we placed our orders in the thinly populated restaurant. But Velo Rouge is young, so we trust that will improve. From entry to exit, our lunch, including dessert, took about an hour and 10 minutes.
One of our party ordered the Red Bike Burger ($11), calling it one of the best burgers he's had in recent memory. He noted that the caramelized onions provided an "extra kick" that he has yet to find elsewhere in Little Rock; the house-ground prime filet was excellent and seasoned just right. And this burger was huge, almost dauntingly daunt
tr.v. daunt·ed, daunt·ing, daunts
To abate the courage of; discourage. See Synonyms at dismay.
[Middle English daunten, from Old French danter, from Latin so.
Another diner tried the Lunch Rapide ($15), soup/salad and entree combo. The main course consists of a choice between the Gnocchi gnoc·chi
Dumplings made of flour, semolina, or potatoes, boiled or baked and served with grated cheese or a sauce.
[Italian, pl. Provencal, which is a homemade potato pasta topped with a black olive-fennel meat sauce, or the Petite Friture, a basket of fried vegetables and whitefish whitefish: see salmon.
Any of several silvery food fishes (family Salmonidae, or Coregonidae), inhabiting cold northern lakes of Europe, Asia, and North America. .
Our colleague chose the broccoli cheese soup, which was thin but full of flavor, and the fish basket, which featured a hefty chunk of delicious fried cod, nicely crunchy and not too greasy. The fried seasonal vegetables, however, should come with a warning label: Several slices of fried lemon were mixed in with the broccoli and onions. Our server explained that the fried lemons were there to cleanse the palate, but it was strange to have them mixed in with the rest of the fare.
The Croque Monsieur ($10), a mild sandwich of ham, Gruyere cheese Gru´yere` cheese´
1. A kind of cheese made at
a type of bread made with olive oil [Italian: slipper] , which was, our tester said, "without a doubt, the best ciabatta I've ever had."
Velo Rouge, whose warm wood decor features a red bicycle, reflecting its name, is a welcome dining addition. And though our lunch got off to a bit of a rocky start, we found most of Velo Rouge's offerings delectable. And once the servers are brought up to speed, we'll probably pedal that way as often as our pockets allow.
Velo Rouge Brasserie
225 E. Markham St., Little Rock
Cuisine: Parisian chophouse chop·house
A restaurant that specializes in serving steaks and chops of meat.
Noun 1. chophouse - a restaurant that specializes in steaks
Dress Code: None
Noise Level: Moderate
Price Range: $6-$22
Credit Cards: All major
Reservations: Same day
**** = Outstanding
*** = Good
** = Fair
* = Poor