“Sake Bomb for Two” is on the menu.
I’ll give you a minute to call in your reservation and then we can continue…
Ok, ready now?
The delight is in the details at Sweetfish.
Getting to the restaurant a touch early, I set up my camera and chose a table for our interview. Scott Bowman of The Bowman Restaurant Group stood at the center bar with his GM and chef.
They went over feedback recently received on menu items. He pointed out lightbulbs that weren’t quite right that needed to be changed “asap,” and they talked about another change to a divider at the bar that might distract from the visual pleasure of guests bellied-up there.
I instantly noticed (err, eavesdropped on) the serious attention to detail.
Sometimes I am guilty of the move “Barbara Waltering” people.
I love to get in there, dig around and dig deep. If my interviewee sheds a single tear about their Grandmimi while sharing a plate of pasta with me, I’ve done my job. I’ve done it WELL.
But with Bowman it was a bit different. More than he is a business man, he is a curator of guest experiences and I get that same vibe from his entire staff.
His polish and emanating sparkle, even after so much time “in the biz,” (an undeniably tough biz), had me intrigued right away in what he’d have to say.
(Gramgram would have to wait for a later conversation.)
“Sweetfish simply came from an idea,” Bowman told me. “We have wanted to offer this area an experience like this – with the freshest seafood as a focus – for quite some time. And with current growth, the growing food knowledge that has come along with it, and our guests getting more adventurous, we knew now was the moment.”
To me, the menu at Sweetfish reads like we’ve jetted in to California. A melting pot of cuisine influence showing the versatility of seafood; it’s also creative, fun and customizable. Higher-end dining, yes, but with an approachable feel and many casual options.
It’s separated into Fish, Grill, Sushi, House Rolls, Starters & Salads, and each section is well-rounded.
There’s a “choose your own adventure” vibe to the Fish section of the menu where you select a fish, then select a preparation. From the “Southern” choice with Gouda grits, bourbon BBQ, and fried leeks, to a Pan-Asian preparation, Cal-Italian, or Mediterranean option; they’ve covered many bases here.
The House Rolls are not your standard sushi-house fare; most depart from strictly Japanese flavor profiles.
Brandishing lovely names of famous females, the rolls are as creative and pretty as they are delicious. One of my favorites was the Ann Roll. Perfectly pale salmon tataki draped over a rice-out roll stuffed with avocado, cream cheese and pine nuts, and finished with sweet soy and toasted sunflower seeds. This “not-that-in-to-salmon lady” felt it was absolutely dreamy.
And I’ll definitely send my raw fish-phobic friends in for the Raquel. Basically BLT in sushi form – this roll includes seared filet and bacon and is finished with a tomato relish and horseradish cream. If there was an Office For the Acceptance of Sushi in Arkansas, this roll would serve as an ambassador there.
For the purists, be sure to ask about off-menu offerings, and get the sashimi board. The delicate slices come dressed with simple accompaniments that absolutely add a little something thoughtful, unique and special to each. Which then begs the question: Which Sake will you choose to go with it all?
With a choice of ten, I suggest… several.
Beyond sushi and fish-focused fare are dishes with a broad range.
Gorgeous Grilled Octopus featuring fingerlings and chorizo has a delicious Spanish vibe. The Lump Crab-Stuffed Avocado is a major favorite on the lighter side, or a Surf & Turf with grilled filet & shrimp over lobster ravioli in champagne cream sauce is, of course, delightfully indulgent.
As Bowman continues to talk “big picture” about business, I listen, intrigued, at all the ways they perfect the guest experience in the moment on the restaurant level at the same time.
I agree with him, that one has everything to do with the other.
“The thing I’m most proud of is the level of hospitality we’ve developed over the years. I can confidently say, we run great places for regulars. And we’re really proud of that. We offer comfort in an inviting environment where you can come in and forget about the world for a couple of hours,” he exhales, “Isn’t that what we all need? A place where they will take great care of you.”
Thoughtfully curating guest experiences from arrival and warm glowing first impression, to cocktails, and courses, to gracious full-bellied goodbyes.
How sweet it is, at Sweetfish.
5001 W. Pauline Whitaker Parkway, Suite 130 Rogers
Mon – Sat 4:00pm-10pm, Sun Closed