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Friday, July 25, 2014, 3:34 p.m.
Top Picks - Capture Arkansas

Selected restaurants

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This article was published June 12, 2014 at 1:59 a.m.

Weekly theme listings reflect a range of dining possibilities in central Arkansas, across a spectrum of settings and price ranges.

Chinese, etc.

A.W. LIN'S ASIAN CUISINE

Promenade at Chenal, 17717 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, (501) 821-5398

This western outrider of a Tennessee-based mini-chain, which just enhanced its menu to include more Thai and other Southeast Asian dishes, offers great plate presentation, good service and flavorful Chinese dishes, especially among the Chef's Specials, along with sushi and Japanese dishes.

Lunch, dinner daily. Full bar. Reservations. Moderate-expensive.

CHI'S DIMSUM & BISTRO

6 Shackleford Drive, Little Rock, (501) 225-8878

CHI'S FINE CHINESE CUISINE

17200 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, (501) 821-8000

CHI'S ASIAN CAFE & SUSHI BAR

3421 Old Cantrell Road, (501) 916-9973, (501) 916-9975

Lulu Chi turned her one-time over-the-counter Chenal Parkway restaurant into a full-service, sit-down establishment (while retaining the popular to-go entrance) and opened a Riverdale outlet with sushi bar and additional pan-Asian entrees, while still serving good food (including a menu of authentic Chinese dishes and dim sum) at her original Shackleford Drive "headquarters."

Lunch, dinner daily. Full bar (wine and beer only at Chenal and Old Cantrell). Reservations (Shackleford location). Moderate-expensive.

UPDATE!!! FAR EAST ASIAN CUISINE

11600 Pleasant Ridge Drive, Little Rock, (501) 219-9399

The successor to Hunan Oriental continues to serve pan-Asian, though mostly Chinese, dishes with some surprises not elsewhere available in this market, including the fragrant Senbei or "Three Cup" clay pot meals, quail and duck and a standout Sunflower Calamari appetizer.

Lunch, dinner daily. Full bar. Reservations. Moderate.

FANTASTIC CHINA

1900 N. Grant St., Little Rock, (501) 663-8999

A consistent top choice in reader polls (and deservedly so), with food that is much like its contemporary decor -- interesting and bold, yet soothing and not the least bit intimidating, and with an emphasis on fresh, quality ingredients, good service and special touches (like the tableside Moo Shu preparation show).

Lunch, dinner daily. Full bar. Reservations. Moderate.

FORBIDDEN GARDEN

14810 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, (501) 868-8149

Run by the friendly folks who operated the now-defunct Forbidden City in Park Plaza, this west Little Rock restaurant emphasizes fresh, quality ingredients and presentation, including, in addition to traditional Chinese, some Thai-influenced dishes like cumin shredded beef and basil chicken.

Lunch, dinner daily. Full bar. Moderate.

FU LIN RESTAURANT

200 N. Bowman Road, Little Rock, (501) 225-8989

Able, amiable and long-lived Fu Lin (in three locations over more than three decades) offers a lengthy and traditional menu of Chinese dishes, like a truly hot and sour Hot and Sour Soup, zesty Chicken With Orange Peel and a seafood-noodle soup called Champong.

Lunch, dinner daily. Full bar. Reservations. Moderate.

MR. CHEN'S AUTHENTIC CHINESE COOKING

Village Shopping Center, 3901 S. University Ave., Little Rock. (501) 562-7900

Many of the dishes will be a little weird, or at least challenging, for Western tastes, but as the name says, it's authentic, with the produce and the particularly fresh seafood coming from the Oriental supermarket that encloses it.

Lunch, dinner daily. Reservations for large parties. Moderate.

TASTE OF D-LIGHT

3200 N. Reynolds Road, Bryant, (501) 847-6267

A Bryant fixture, Taste of D-Light serves generous portions of Chinese and Vietnamese food during the week with a popular lunch buffet on Sunday.

Lunch, dinner daily. No alcohol. Reservations. Bargain-moderate.

WASABI

101 Main St., Little Rock, (501) 374-0777

Michael Choi's Asian-fusion restaurant offers excellent and inventive "proud" sushi plus American, Japanese and Chinese entrees in a distinctly non-Asian setting.

Lunch Mon-Fri, dinner Mon-Sat. Full bar. Reservations. Moderate.

Weekend on 06/12/2014

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