The unicorn

Photo by Liz Chrisman

The Landing and Sports Grill

102 W Broadway St, Morrilton

Most restaurants settle into a specific food genre — Mexican, Italian, soul food, Cajun, Southern, Chinese — along with subsets and different interpretations of each. And, to be honest, when we’re deciding on a place to eat, we typically lean toward the specialized restaurants because we trust that the chefs know what they’re doing within that specific food genre.

But every now and then you run across a unicorn — an eatery featuring such a robust menu that you’re thinking surely they can’t pull it all off. Legendary restaurants offering food from every corner of the food universe and doing it to perfection are pure myth, right?

Wrong. They do exist. And they are spectacular.

The Landing and Sports Grill in Morrilton made us a believer. You could close your eyes, spin the menu, and jab a finger to choose your dish and come up a winner every time. During our visit we dined on fried catfish, shrimp, and the best beer-battered onion rings to ever cross our lips; a Cajun pasta bowl that had us double checking that we weren’t in the French Quarter; chicken parmigiana that tasted like it was straight from Sicily; an oh-my-word pastrami sandwich; a nostimo lamb gyro; a chocolate Oscar that could win an Oscar… if they gave them out for food; and an incredible red, white, and blue salad topped with a seared salmon, a combination that works together just as well on the plate as the colors do on the flag.

Whew!

And I’m positive that I forgot some items because the deliciousness was just that overwhelming for both palate and mind. But it’s normal for senses to be overwhelmed when encountering a unicorn.