Grand Taverne Restaurant & Lounge
Elegance and flavor in downtown Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs’ Grand Taverne Restaurant & Lounge is a longtime favorite for locals and out-of-towners alike, and those who visit the establishment know why.
An elegant atmosphere, a friendly staff and most importantly some of the most delicious food in Eureka Springs makes the Grand Taverne a big hit with anybody who stops by.
The restaurant recently reopened after being closed briefly for renovations. General manager Derek Hamilton explained that the renovations were intended to update the restaurant while maintaining its historic look. New features include an open front room with a visible bar, as well as a back room with a booth that covers half the room. The red-cushioned booth has quickly become a hit with visitors who enjoy the romantic atmosphere. It’s also a great spot to take a photo to commemorate your visit.
Of course, the real measure of a good restaurant is in the food, and as wonderful as the atmosphere is at the Grand Taverne, the food is even better.
On a recent visit to Grand Taverne, we started our meal with fried green tomatoes and a pan-seared crab cake. The tomatoes are served with house-made pimento cheese with bacon and red onion jams on the side. It’s a wonderful mix of flavors, especially the contrast between the two jams. It all combined for a perfect start to the meal.
The pan-seared crab cake is equally delicious. Featuring a smoked tomato remoulade and a Creole red pepper cream sauce, the crab cake is savory, flaky and perfectly toasted with a sublime mix of sweet and spicy flavors that complement the crab without overpowering it.
Next came the duck entree — half a duck served with Huckleberry citrus jus, dried cranberry wild rice and sliced fruit. Executive chef Jeff Clements roasts the duck at high heat to render the fat off as soon as possible, and the result is tender and tasty. The duck pairs perfectly with the sides. We all agreed it was the best duck we’d ever experienced.
To be honest, we were getting a little full by this point in the meal, but we pushed onward. We finished with a Dry-Aged Strip Steak — 14 ounces of bovine heaven. Chef Jeff dry-ages the steaks in house and serves them with Bourbon shallot butter and gratin dauphinois potatoes. We consider steak a primary food group, but candidly a lot of restaurants can’t compete with our own home-cooked steaks. The Grand Taverne, though, is on a whole different level. You simply can’t prepare a steak like this at home. Served medium-rare, it is thick, tender and just perfect. And nothing goes better with a steak than a good potato — the dauphinois is perfectly done as well. This may be the go-to meal in Eureka Springs.
Of course, we only experienced a small sampling of the Grand Taverne’s expansive menu. Other offerings include beef carpaccio, salmon rillettes, pan-seared scallops, stuffed portabello mushroom, red lentil encrusted walleye, roasted rack of lamb and grilled Maine lobster tail.
There’s also a large drink selection including martinis, wine by the bottle and domestic, imported and craft beer. The chocolate martini is rich and tasty with a punch you may not see coming.
The Grand Taverne also features live entertainment on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. If you get a chance to check out the duo of Kenny Jackson and Jackson Gibson,
you won’t be disappointed.
The Grand Taverne is located at 37 N. Main St. in Eureka Springs, inside the Grand Central Hotel & Spa. The restaurant is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, for dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and for brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. For reservations, call 479-253-6756.