By Todd Barron @ FoodieCuisine.com
On the way to take the kids to an event the other night we stopped at Ciao’s Italian Restaurant in Downtown Little Rock for a quiet dinner. Ciao’s has been around for 24+ years and used to be a place I frequented for lunch with my mother when I was near Downtown (she used to work in Downtown.)
Given the age of the restaurant I was admittedly hesitant as many restaurants do not evolve with the tastes of the community. Luckily, their menu has evolved and the food was quite good!
My son ordered the Omaha US Prime Steak Special, which is served only Medium Rare, and I had the Maryland Crab Cakes. For my starter I ordered the Mushroom Soup, and for the table we ordered appetizers of Focaccia Bread and Fried Ravioli.
The Focaccia Bread is served warm and comes with sides of pesto and an olive-oil mix. It is tasty and a nice precursor to the meal. The fried ravioli on the other hand reminds me of the fried ravioli you buy at the grocery store from the freezer section. Hopefully it is not homemade, as someone is wasting their time if so. It is tough, over-fried, and lacks any flavor.
The Mushroom Soup comes out next and has a strong mushroom flavor to it. I wish it had larger chunks of mushrooms in it but is tasty nonetheless. The Maryland Crab Cake entree comes out and surprises me at first as I had envisioned flat crab-cakes, not fried crab-cake balls. They are lightly fried though and pack a lot of flavor. I especially enjoy the steamed vegetables and the side of pasta and marinara is a nice touch. Overall I am happy with the crab-cakes and would order them again.
Everything but the fried ravioli was good and the service made up for any appetizer short-comings. The staff is very friendly, attentive, and I have nothing but compliments for them. I look forward to going back.