By Todd Barron @ FoodieCuisine.com
Lilly’s Dim Sum Then Some is an Asian Cuisine restaurant located in Little Rock off of Rodney Parham Road and has been around for several years. Their website offers the following description of their approach:
“Independently owned, Lilly’s is named after a beloved pet dog named Lilly, and operated by a Swede and a Southerner! Nancy Tesmer (the Swede) brings a wealth of hospitality service and experience to Arkansas. She is a nationally recognized wine expert, studying under the only non-French person to be awarded the Certificate Chevalier du Taste Vin, and honing her skills as a wine consultant to many of Chicago’s finest restaurants. Tesmer hosts wine tastings, wine classes and dinners, and consults with individuals on topics ranging from setting up a wine cellar to learning how to read a restaurant’s wine list. Tesmer is also a spirits consultant, and works with a number of the country’s top chefs and restaurateurs” – (Source: Lilly’s Dum Sum Then Some Website, October 2010).
My wife and I decided to go there for dinner this last Saturday night and arrived at around 8pm. We were seated immediately as there were many empty tables. From my past experience lunch is a busy time at Lilly’s and they serve a brunch that may garner more patrons than we experienced on a weekend night. This could explain why we didn’t see many people there.
The first thing I noticed is that the menu is much larger than I remembered it from years prior. Either they increased the number of dishes offered or my memory fails me. There are several items to choose from including Korean, Thai, and Chinese cuisine. Their specials for the night included General Tso’s chicken and a coconut creme brulee. Our waiter arrived quickly and took our drink orders. He went to obtain our drinks while we figured out what we wanted.
We settled on the Spicy Peanut Kung Pao Wraps ($6.99) for an appetizer. My wife ordered the Award Winning Thai Coconut Soup with Grilled Shrimp ($10.99 for the large bowl) and I ordered the Korean BibimBap with Grilled Steak($11.99). The appetizer came out with 6 large pieces of lettuce to create the wraps with and a bowl of diced chicken and vegetables in a peanut sauce. The mixture had a nice flavor to it and reminds me a lot of a dish I make at home called Yu Shan Chicken. The recipe I have for the dish comes from a good Chinese friend of mine’s wife and is something I make a few times a year. In fact, I had bought the ingredients to make the dish before going out to eat! Given the similarity to what I make at home, I expect that the chicken mixture has ginger, garlic, chili-sauce, peanuts, bell pepper, chicken, soy sauce, sugar, corn starch, and oil in it. The chicken was a bit on the dry side but overall we liked the appetizer.
Our dinner arrived promptly after the appetizer was finished and came out quite hot. This is a nice change from some recent restaurant trips where our food appeared to have lived under heat lamps for a while. My wife’s soup had a nice flavor to it and while high in calories from the coconut milk, did not taste heavy. The soup came out in a huge bowl filled with coconut milk, vegetables, and had rice on the bottom. It had several grilled shrimp in the soup that my wife claimed “made the dish”.
The egg on my bibimbap was cooked perfectly with a nice formed white and runny center when cut into. The dish had grilled steak in it, sprouts, cabbage, rice, other vegetables, and a nice broth at the bottom. Our waiter suggested I mix the entire dish together, which I did, and it made a nice difference (thank you for the tip!) Overall it tasted good and with the addition of some sriracha sauceit had a good kick. It was not quite as flavorful as the bimbim bop I used to have in a Korean restaurant in New Jersey but it is the closest thing I have had since then. I would order it again.
I already have in mind a few dishes I want to try on my next trip and was pleased with the whole experience. The total tab was around $40 (before tip) and our waiter was one of the best ones we have had in a while. The food was light tasting but had good flavor and little to complain about. It didn’t blow me away but for the style was good. On leaving a customer made us aware of a brunch they have every Wednesday through Sunday that we may try in a couple of weeks. It’s held next door in their BSide restaurant.
Lilly’s DimSum ThenSome
11121 N. Rodney Parham Rd.
Little Rock, AR 72212
Monday-Thursday, 11am-9 pm
Sunday 11:30-9 pm