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South Food 1

Go Big at Beech St. Bistro in Crossett

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Ever been to Crossett? The town of about 5,000 folks sits two hours southeast of Little Rock (near the Louisiana border) and has been dubbed the “Forestry Capital of the South.” There is even a pair of trees in the town’s official logo, which might I add, is a pretty awesome logo.

Being a Crossett first-timer, I can’t tell you how fortunate my friend and I were to spend the better part of an afternoon getting a grand tour from Mayor Crystal Marshall. The mayor was darn proud to show off her town, and rightfully so, as Crossett is a gem.

And as it turns out, food ended up playing a big role in that “gem” status, thanks in large part to an early dinner at Beech St. Bistro.

Beech St. Bistro is three blocks from the heart of town on, you guessed it, Beech Street. A huge “BISTRO” sign ensures prospective diners will not miss the restaurant. Once inside, the cozy, wood-prominent interior put me at ease, as did the complimentary yeast rolls and hot water cornbread. The house-made basket of bread that comes with honey butter tested my willpower right from the get-go. Word to the wise, practice restraint. As good as those initial carbs proved to be, the ones that followed were even better.

Co-owners and husband-and-wife duo, Laura and Chester Huntsman, have created a masterpiece in Beech St. Bistro, meshing Southern and Cajun/Creole fare on a sizable menu sure to have a little something for everyone. Both Laura and Chester are as nice as can be. She is calm, yet friendly, while Chester is a ball of energy who is quick to talk about his two passions, food and music. If you are lucky, he may sing a couple of impromptu verses of whatever combination of words pop into his head, all while playing his rusty trombone. It is a sight to behold and one I will not soon forget.

The food is every bit as memorable. Where do I begin?

The chicken and dumplings are as classic as it gets, with a plentiful amount of chicken and rolled dumplings swimming in a thickened broth. The Crawfish Pot Pie comes loaded with the aforementioned crustacean and bits of cobbler crust, all in a cheesy, soupy sauce. It works.

Enjoy gator? Opt for the Alligator Nachos. Fried wonton chips come topped with a cheese sauce, fried alligator, tomatoes, bacon and cilantro. Less adventurous eaters should not be scared off by the mild-flavor protein. Give it a try. The half order should suffice.

On that topic, if you couldn’t tell by the pics, please be aware that portions at Beech St. Bistro are enormous. Even that half order requires a voracious appetite. Case in point, The Soignier Cheese Steak Po’Boy is an eye-popping Leidenheimer bread sandwich filled with roast beef, brown gravy, onions and cheese sauce. Everything just melds together, forming this glorious, sinful mountain of food that is best eaten with a fork. The pile of Cajun-seasoned fries on the plate might seem like an afterthought, but they are not. In fact, I am guessing nothing on Beech St. Bistro’s menu is an afterthought. A lot of love and attention goes into this food, and while calorie counters might be advised to stay home, those of us looking to let loose will enjoy this menu.

Just make sure to save a little room for the cheesecake … or add another doggy bag to the mix. Either way, you’ll leave Beech St. Bistro happy and quite full.

Beech St. Bistro
202 Beech St (Crossett)
Phone: 870-304-2183
Hours: Open Daily 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

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Kevin Shalin is a food writer living in Little Rock with his wife, Sara, and two daughters, Natalie (12) and Sydney (7). He started his own blog, The Mighty Rib, seven years ago while living in Houston. Six months later, he began writing for Eating Our Words, a Houston Press food blog. After a year in Boston, he moved to Little Rock, where he’s been for almost five years. During that time, he’s written for Little Rock Soiree, Rock City Eats, Treatsie, and Bourbon and Boots.

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One response to “Go Big at Beech St. Bistro in Crossett”

  1. Sharon P. Rogers says:

    Kevin:

    I totally agree. Thank you so much for writing an article to share the Bistro. In my opinion it is the best eatery in town!

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