We feel that being a foodie moves you beyond the standard pleasure found in dining. For us, there is anticipation for the upcoming meals. There is an air of mystery that surrounds each new visit and the prospect of new flavor discovery. When we landed in downtown Fort Smith, Arkansas, we were already aware of its vibrant food scene. One of the preselected destinations had us jumping south of the border. Dinner at Rolando’s Restaurante would give us a chance to experience dining Ecuadorian style.
We want to thank Experience Fort Smith and Rolando’s Restaurante for hosting our visit. rest assured all opinions are our own.
During our wanderings, we found the downtown to be jumping with activity. After our first day of exploring the city, we made our way just off of Main Street toward our dinner destination. Now that the day was wearing away, the shift of focus appeared to have moved toward diners seeking meals. We joined in the movement toward our destination. All of the recon work that I had done, left me feeling anxious to visit Rolando’s. Stepping through the entrance, we found ourselves transported to Central America. It was quickly apparent that this place is a local favorite.
Settling into Central America
The decor helped set the mood for dining Ecuadorian style. It was obvious that much of the artwork was handmade by artists here and abroad. A discussion with staff uncovered that many of the tiles were brought here from Rolando’s home country. I couldn’t resist doing some exploring and made my way upstairs to see more. On my way back down, I found the staircase offers a commanding view of the dining room. What an impressively designed space. Turns out, it once served as an auto company in a previous life. Time to get back to the business at hand and do some exploring of the menu.
Munching away on our chips and salsa, we found ourselves immersed in a menu filled with many unfamiliar plates. Our server arrived with our fruity margaritas and walked us through some of the nuances of the dishes. After hearing some details, Crystal selected the Pollo Chucaqui, which has a distinct Cuban influence. Tender chicken cutlets are marinated in a lime and wine mojo. These are cooked up with tomatoes, celery, onions, and parsley. Laid out on a bed of white rice, the plate presentation was obviously made with an eye for decoration. We loved this, since we first dine with our eyes.
I didn’t stray far with my choice of Pollo Bohemios. With a chicken base that requires the same marinade, there were definite similarities between our two choices. Mine veered to the left with the addition of a tequila sauce. Laid out on its bed of rice, the dish was topped with a mixture of green onions, sweet peppers, and parsley. Like Crystal’s plate, my entree came escorted by black beans, pickled red onion, and a crispy tortilla. I must say that both dishes carried their delectable flavor blend and we ended up swapping plates about halfway through our meal.
Dining Ecuadorian Style
Our expedition into Rolando’s Restaurante had provided us with a peek into a cuisine somewhat unfamiliar to us. That being said, we have a handful of Central American cuisine choices in our hometown. As we learn more about the dishes from south of the border, we become more intrigued with them. Fort Smith was proving to be a foodie haven and we were just wrapping up the first day. Looks like we would be in good culinary hands for the rest of our visit. We strolled out the door knowing that we had many more delightful meals in our near future.