by Julia Milano
All aficionados of a good cold beer welcomed the news that a craft beer tasting room and microbrewery would open in Hot Springs on Historic Bathhouse Row. Who knew that along with refreshing and thoughtful libations, Chef Angela Nardi would also put together unique seasonal offerings that incorporate food grown and produced by local farmers and artisans.
Want a place to stop before dinner for a flight of interesting brews and some delicious appetizers? The Superior Bathhouse offers delightful meat and cheese plates for $10 and $15 with tasty little food enhancers on the side for a mere quarter. On a recent evening, I took advantage of their happy hour half price special and got a platter composed of cheese, JV Farms’ salami and cold smoked pork shoulder for $5. Deciding to splurge, for a single dollar, I ordered house-made garlic paste, pesto, marinated yellow tomatoes and artichoke hearts to accompany the meat and cheese. I layered these delightful treats on slices of baguette and whole grain crackers washing them down with a Whittington Park Wheat, one of the nine beers that are brewed in-house. The cheese, meat, and other goodies could have easily sufficed as a whole meal at the whopping price of $6. Now that is farm to table goodness at a fair price. Not a drinker? Enjoy a glass of homemade draft root beer and compose an appetizer plate suited to your own taste, but do try the 26-month aged Beemster Cheese.
On another evening, we again focused on appetizers and could easily have made a meal on the Boursin Tomato and Pesto Stack, Savory Mushroom Strudel and Southern Black-Eyed Pea Hummus shared by our table of three. These diverse dishes were topped with organic micro-greens from Arkansas Natural Produce.
In addition to this excellent array of starters, the menu offers flavorful sandwiches and numerous salads. One dining companion heartily enjoyed her Reuben and I can vouch for the delicate citrus quinoa salad. At the dinner hour, three diverse entrees are offered two of which feature JV Farms pork ribs and bratwurst. The third, chicken breasts with basil and lemon is not a dish I would usually order. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good chicken dish but often “restaurant” chicken, especially breast meat is dried out and tired tasting. Get ready for two juicy pieces of chicken redolent with the taste of herbs and tart citrus.
I could write an entire page about the gelato bar. The gelatos and sorbets are all locally made by Marque Haupert who studied gelato-making in Italy. If you’re in Hot Springs and need a quick, refreshing pick-me-up, grab a parking place and run into the Superior Brewery for a cup or cone from the tempting board of flavors. Or, cleanse your palate with one of the lighter sorbets. It’s the perfect end to a locally sourced meal at the Superior Bathhouse, a very welcome addition to the Hot Springs’ eating scene.
The Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery is located at 329 Central Avenue in Hot Springs and opens daily at 11 am.
Facebook: Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery