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Selected restaurants

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This article was published March 20, 2014 at 2:37 a.m.

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

To read recent restaurant reviews in their entirety, visit www2.arkansasonline.com/restaurants/

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 fare.

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 BAR3421 Old Cantrell Road, (501) 916-9973, (501) 916-9975 Lulu Chi continues to expand her empire. She’s 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 and still serves 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.

FANTASTIC CHINA 1900 N. Grant St., Little Rock, (501) 663-8999 A consistent and deserving top choice in reader polls, with food much like its contemporary decor - interesting and bold, yet soothing and not the least bit intimidating, and with an emphasis on quality ingredients, good service and special touches (like the tableside Moo Shu show).

Lunch, dinner daily. Full bar.

Reservations. Bargain.

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 some Thai-influenced dishes like cumin shredded beef and basil chicken in addition to traditional Chinese.

Lunch, dinner daily. Full bar.

Moderate.

UPDATE!!! FU LIN RESTAURANT 200 N. Bowman Road, Little Rock, (501) 225-8989 Able, amiable and long-lived Fu Lin 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, at its location on west Little Rock’s Bowman Curve.

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, all right, with the produce and the fresh seafood coming from the Oriental supermarket that encloses it.

Lunch, dinner daily. Reservations for large parties.

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, Pages 40 on 03/20/2014

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