Oak Street Bistro offers ‘uptown’ menu

At one point in our conversation, Pam disappeared into the kitchen and came out with what one would have thought was the latest and greatest Christmas gift for that special someone. When unveiled, the box was really a treasure — it was full of Artisan Lettuces — red leaf, oak leak, green leaf — and Pam was as excited about the quality and freshness of the product, as one could possibly be! This is the spirit and attitude I find in Oak Street Bistro.

The concept began because of Pam Trent’s love of cooking and the creativity involved, when in 1992 the first small, but delightful shop opened called Rollin In The Dough, located on Prince Street. The establishment then moved to Oak Street, and then expanded on to the new location at 800 Fourth Ave. in Conway. The regular customer favorites still appear on the menu, such as the white cheddar and dill soup, the spinach dip and the hot crab sandwich. But I also noticed the new lineup for the fall and holidays, among which are a Waldorf and Roasted Turkey Salad, a Moroccan Marinated Tuna Sandwich and a Bistro Style Shrimp PoBoy!

The new atmosphere is delightful, comfortable and upscale. Seated across from my table was a local bank staff, and around the corner in the room connecting the Bistro and Tipton and Hurst Florist, was a bridal shower luncheon — everyone was engaged in good food and good conversation.
Pam’s conversation with me was expressed in our mutual love for quality and excellence, for the personal touch in menu and food production and the desire for retention in the customer base. We discussed the future arrangement the restaurant has with two local farmers for the “farm to market” concept of product usage, the rewards of using locally made honey, and how the “online” ordering has changed in the recent food genres.

Oak Street Bistro is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and until 9 p.m. Thursday- Saturday. It is open for Sunday Brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is catering, catering delivery and availability for private parties.

For ordering online, the web address is oakstreetbistro.net and the phone number is 501.450.9908. Oak Street Bistro is a home-town , locally-owned and operated oasis for fine dining with “uptown” menu and atmosphere. For good conversation and great food, it’s Oak Street Bistro!

Pam was happy to share two of her favorite recipes with 501 LIFE readers. Bon Appétit from the Lady Chef at the Bistro!

Crunchy Pea Salad

1 bag frozen peas, thawed
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1 can water chestnuts, sliced
1 bunch green onions, diced

Put everything in a bowl and toss with enough dressing to coat.

Asian Dressing:
1 cup creme fraiche
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Whisk all ingredients together.

Creme Fraiche:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

Whisk together and let rest overnight on counter.
Serves 6-8.

You might not need to use all the dressing. Add a small amount at first then add more if you need to.
Dressing and Creme Fraiche will keep refrigerated for a week. Pea Salad will keep for several days. Best used the first day.
Clam Chowder

4.5 cups canned clam juice
1 -10 oz. can baby clams, including all juices
1.25 lbs. white-skinned potatoes, washed but not peeled, and cut into ¼-inch dice
3/4 cup celery, cut into ¼-inch dice
3/4 cup carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4 “ dice
1/4 lb salt pork, trimmed of rind and coarsely cubed
2 cups onion ¼-inch dice
2/3 cup flour
3 cups whole milk, heated
2 cups cream, heated
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Put clam juice in a two-quart saucepan. Add drained juice from clams into the saucepan. Heat clam juice to simmer. Add potatoes, celery and carrot. Cook over medium heat until tender. Drain vegetables, reserving clam juice.

In a food processor bowl equipped with a steel blade, process the salt pork until very finely ground (or chop by hand, very very fine). Place ground salt pork in a four-quart saucepan. Heat over medium heat, add onion, and cook until onion is translucent. Add flour and cook, stirring for 5 minutes, making sure flour does not brown. Add reserved clam juice and cook until smooth and thick. Fold in reserved vegetables, reserved clams, milk, cream and parsley. Stir in butter and adjust seasoning. Enjoy with a loaf of artisan bread and a big chunk of cheese!!

Note: “Granted, there are already more than enough versions of clam chowder. When I first opened in 1992, I was on a mission to find the perfect one and I found it. I have used this recipe ever since and that’s been 18 years. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. It’s been a Bistro favorite.”