What’s cooking
Poncho’s Villa, for years located on North Little Rock’s East Broadway street in a couple of locations, has moved across the river to a little spot in the Hillcrest neighborhood. The Mexican and American food restaurant has opened at 600 N. Tyler St., which served as home for a while to the Carman’s Corner sandwich shop and a Cafe Percito’s location. Poncho’s Villa opened there Aug. 26, and it’s open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.
Coincidentally, when Poncho’s Villa moved from its longtime location near the intersection of Broadway and Interstate 30, it took over space that had formerly been a Cafe Percito’s, which had shifted operations west to Highway 10. That Percito’s has since closed.
Hot Springs welcomed yet another Mexican food restaurant to its historic end of town, as the Barking Frog has opened on Park Avenue (Highway 7) across from the Majestic Hotel.
Capsule reviews
SEASONS IN THE HEIGHTS We’ve always been partial to this cozy little spot, since back in the days when it had a different name and owner. But our last visit wasn’t quite as enjoyable as we’d hoped, though it had its good points, and one was the pork loin in a red wine sauce with mushrooms. Tender and tasty. But what were billed as blue cheese mashed potatoes had no discernible blue cheese flavor. Indeed, they tasted just like the garlic mashed potatoes on our companion’s plate. She was happy enough with her grilled salmon in a raspberry sauce, but less so with her bruschetta, which looked like a big hoagie roll cut in two, then chopped into rather large chunks, topped with yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes and melted cheese. It was a lot of bread. Not bad-tasting, but not what she was expecting. The wine list is fairly small here, but the wine glasses are large. 1501 N. University Ave. (Prospect Building) 537-2242. Beer and wine CC $$-$$$ LD Mon.-Fri. D Sat.
BRUNO’S LITTLE ITALY We caught this place as busy as we’ve ever seen it on a recent Friday night, where we waited 45 minutes or so in the small entryway for a table to seat seven. Of course, it was worth the wait, though pizzas would be out of the question – an hour wait for them, we were told. Too bad, as we’ve come to learn that Bruno’s does pizza quite well. Our suggestion is that at least one diner go for the special that night, as we’ve never been disappointed. On this night, it was a large chicken breast sautéed in garlic and herbs and deglazed with cognac, then topped with gorgonzola and mozzarella and baked ($14.95). Mama, mia! The specialty spaghetti dishes were superb, while the manicotti were pretty good. Bruno’s regularly has a good wine featured at a nice bottle price. Servers was zipping throughout the place, and the crowd noise level wer at a light roar. It’s not really your Italian romantic getaway as much as it’s just a family and/or friends party place. 315 N. Bowman Road. Full bar. CC $$-$$$ 224-4700 D Mon.-Sat.