We’ve been watching the construction of the 21C Museum Hotel in Bentonville since it began months ago and eagerly awaiting its opening. We were fortunate to secure reservations in its restaurant, The Hive, during the opening week. The hotel is not due to open until mid-February.
As with the opening days of most new restaurants, there are some kinks to work out, but there were no big problems either with the service or the food. Our waitress worked so hard to make our dining experience a pleasant one even though she still has some details to learn about the menu selections.
Matthew McClure, an Arkansas native, is the Executive Chef chosen to head up this latest 21C venture. Even at the young age of 31 he looks to become a shining star in the culinary world. He promises an ever-changing menu based upon local ingredient availability and resources. All ingredients are fresh, never frozen which is definitely appreciated.
Our dinner began with a shared appetizer of house- made pimento cheese with tomato bacon jam and toasted white bread which we both really enjoyed. The serving is meant to be shared.
We both agreed that we would try the Arkansas trail mix – a mixture of sliced walnuts, cheese straws, rice and fried black-eyed peas on our next visit.
I chose the mixed greens salad with spiced pecan and sorghum vinaigrette for my “beginnings” course while Hubby chose the cauliflower soup which was garnished with toasted brioche and raisin butter. My salad was fresh and flavorful without a strong sorghum taste. Hubby’s soup was a nice presentation, but he probably would not order it again. Unfortunately, I was too busy eating to take pictures.
One of The Hive’s signature dishes, the rabbit and dumplings (gnocchi) with roasted mushrooms, almonds and lemon, was my entrée choice.
The potato dumplings were light and fluffy and the rabbit intensely flavorful. In fact, it was very rich. I could not finish my serving.
Hubby debated between seared scallops persillade with shell beans, braised greens and fried ham and the roasted local chicken with farro, grilled cabbage and citrus puree. He chose the chicken which was excellent.
The couple next to us were kind enough to take pictures of their entrees: the scallops and the ham-brined pork chop both of which they proclaimed as delicious. Both are definitely in my consideration for future visits.
Three sides are available: Local War Eagle Organic Grits with mascarpone cheese and braised g, an assortment of collard greens, mustard greens, turnips, and kale braised with onion, bacon, brown sugar, and cider vinegar.
We bypassed the sides in order to save room for the pecan pie which was not like any pecan pie I’ve ever had before. It was more like a thick pecan pie cookie. Can you say, “absolute yum?” We were certainly tempted to give the chocolate custard with caramelized bananas a try as well. Maybe next time.
The bar area was full and lively on the night we were there. According to our waitress, the bar menu with dishes such as Salt and Pepper Ox Ribs and The Hive Burger, a house-ground brisket burger with pickles, pimento cheese, and house-made French fries will soon be offered.
The Hive is open nightly for dinner. Hours Sunday through Thursday are 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Breakfast, lunch and brunch will be available at some point soon.
While there, be sure to check out the free galleries located throughout the hotel. I’ll be sharing a few of those pictures at http://diningwithdebbie.blogspot.com.
Some minor criticism: While The Hive is a somewhat casual restaurant, it is much more than a diner (and I have nothing against diners). That being said, I would like to see the wait staff dress less casually than I observed. Sorry. Sagging just bothers me, especially while I am eating.
Secondly, they need high chairs. I am assuming that those have just not arrived. I observed one family trying to eat while corralling a toddler who could not be seated.
Online Menu: www.thehivebentonville.com/menu/
200 NE A Street
Bentonville, Arkansas 72712
Phone (479) 286-6575
Food: 4.5 spoons (out of 5)
Service: 4.5 spoon
Price: 3 spoons
Atmosphere: Casual and friendlyGoing back: Yes, absolutelyOutside seating: No
Also posted at: http://diningwithdebbie.blogspot.com
To be linked to Urbanspoon