The Little Rock outlet of the minichain, which has locations in Memphis and Nashville, is so rooted in its clean, comely corner, that we've almost forgotten all the short-lived restaurants that once occupied the space up the ramp behind Sonny Williams'.With lunch and dinner served daily, a late-night menu and a Sunday jazz brunch, there's always something going on at the restaurant that was busy and lively but never too loud during a recent series of visits.
Seating options in the simply decorated, ambiently lit restaurant include wooden chairs and large padded booths, as well as stools around or to the side of the large bar with plenty of Boscos' beers - brewed from the very equipment visible from the dining room - on tap. And only Boscos' beers are on tap (wine and mixed drinks are also available).
For help selecting beer, the food menu offers pairing suggestions - even with desserts - and the drinks menu offers full descriptions complete with International Bittering Unit (IBU) ratings. The higher the number, the stronger the beer. Not that Boscos offers any feeble brews. The beer with the lowest IBU (16), the Flaming Stone Beer, is quite full-bodied. Before committing to a full glass, one can try a shot-glass portion ($1) or a sampler of eight beers ($8).
Beer this brawny demands at least something to bite on. From the dinner appetizers menu, the portion of battered Calamari ($7) is plenty ample for sharing. But a recent order could have cooked a bit longer (then again, it was served not even a minute before our meals ... any longer and it would have been served after our meals). The Smoked Duck Spring Rolls ($7), crisp handfuls of smoked duck, carrots, cabbage and scallions, were bursting with flavor, accented by a Szechuan sauce. And the Wood Oven Shrimp ($7.50), five butterflied crustaceans bathed in a spicy herbbutter sauce, were luscious, even if the three thin French bread slices that accompanied the dish seemed a bit skimpy.