Food Review: Naru in Conway


A shopping center used to be seen as a place no good restaurant could be found. Maybe it still is to some people. However, I have found many good restaurants across the U.S. that are amazing and found in shopping centers. While this one isn’t amazing, it is worth checking out.
The interior, though…lime green walls everywhere, even the bathrooms. The specials were written on dirty chalk boards and were barely legible. However, at 3 p.m. on a Sunday, several of the seats were full. I thought…this should be interesting.
Once we sat down for a couple minutes, we all realized we were freezing to death. I am very hot-natured and I was shaking. We all went to get coats out of the truck pretty quickly.



WAY too big. I swear it took us over 30 minutes just to decide what we wanted. There is sushi (way too many of those to choose from as well) that includes fried rolls, baked rolls, specialty rolls, and then the usual basic rolls and sashimi.
Then, there’s everything from salads and fried rice to Thai dishes and bibimbop. I didn’t know where to go with this place!
On a positive note, I am sure there is something for EVERYONE here.


Hallelujah! 2 for 1 ($6, so $3 each) margaritas, on the rocks only, at a sushi/ Thai/ who-knows-what-else restaurant? I’ll take it! They made each one by hand and the regular margaritas were pretty good, and a nice size for $3. The strawberry one should probably be avoided, unless you love that fake strawberry syrup.


FREE Onion Soup

I love anything free, but this soup was pretty large and very tasty. Plus, it was very warm, which warmed us up quite nicely in the frigid environment.

FREE Fried Spring Rolls

Something else, free? This is great! While there was no sauce to dip them in, as our other eating companions complained, I don’t care. Dipped into just soy sauce, these were light and crispy and very appreciated.


House Salad, $4.95
Description: Fresh Lettuce, cucumber, daikon, and sesame seeds with ginger peanut dressing

While this was a nice sized salad for $5, big enough to split as a started between two people, this house salad was nothing special due to a pretty inferior dressing. I love ginger dressings at most Japanese restaurants- whether it is thick or thin, I love that gingery twang. This definitely lacked that. It also lacked any real peanut flavor. It was just a unique tasting vinaigrette. Not my favorite. Though, I liked the pickled daikon on the salad, I would not order this again.

Thai Pineapple Spicy Fried Rice, $14.95
Description: Fresh spices and pineapple with beef, chicken, shrimp, and fresh vegetables.

This was by far my favorite thing (even though I didn’t order it) ordered at our table. It was HUGE and piled high. This was probably the most flavorful fried rice I have ever tried. It didn’t need any extra soy or spices, it held up all on its own. The yumyum dipping sauce didn’t go ignored, though, because it’s yumyum sauce!
There was also a ton of steak, chicken, and shrimp, all cooked very well. The veggies were also perfectly seared but still al-dente.
Plus, this came with a side salad with that same vinaigrette and just some iceburg lettuce, so nothing special, but a nice addition.
For $15 (almost the same price of many of the rolls on the menu) this is a great deal. I’m sure there are 3 meals to be had in this one dish.

Hendrix Roll, $13.95 (Top)
Description: Thinly sliced and marinated beef, crab, daikon, tamago, cucumber, avocado, and spinach

Especially for the price, I was a tad disappointed. Mostly because I hate rolls with the seaweed on the outside, it is so hard for me to eat. If I had known that, I would not have ordered it, even if it were only $5.
However, the beef inside was very flavorful, though a little chewy. And I pulled the insides out to eat it and I swear there was only beef, cucumber, and daikon. I couldn’t find any tamago, crab, avocado, or spinach?

Hollywood Roll, $11.50 (Bottom)
Description: Tempura shrimp, crab, and cucumber. Topped with white tuna and tobiko with spicy aioli and creamy sauce.

This  was my favorite roll I tried (besides these two and Lori’s two, mentioned below). It tasted very fresh and the cucumber gave it a little crunch, which I need in a sushi roll. Though, it was nothing to write home about, so I would try other rolls next time.

Miami Roll, $12.95 (Top)
Description: Baked roll with crab, avocado, and cucumber, topped with scallop, crab, masago, and spicy aioli

While I love a good baked roll, mostly because of the top with baked scallops and crab and sauces, this roll was just a little mushy for me. Again, I have to have some texture balance in sushi and there wasn’t enough here. But if you have never had a baked roll, you must try it, they are some of the best!

Crunch Munch Roll, $9.95 (Bottom)
Description: Spicy crab and avocado topped with cooked shrimp and crunch

First of all, I don’t believe this was the roll that was ordered. This roll lacked both shrimp and crunch and was just a ball of mush. No thanks.


We were told by the waitress that now on Wednesdays and Saturdays (11-9) they have 1/2 off sushi.

This changes everything. I will definitely be back to try different sushi rolls, to get those cheap margaritas, and to get a take home box of that Thai fried rice!


Food Review: Cilantro’s Mexican Grill could use more cilantro, with special guest, Drew!

This past Saturday, the hubs and I took the four-wheeler around Hector, AR to ride around on some trails.
*Yes, I have my own 4 wheeler and Drew has a dirt bike, but I make him just tote me around on my 4 wheeler when I can, because it is less scary for me and way more fun and romantic.


Anyway, on the way home, we decide to try this newer Mexican restaurant in Conway. I was craving Mexican, and this one had pretty good reviews online. So, here’s the breakdown, from Drew and me!

Drew: I have been to the Cilantro’s in North Little Rock, in Lakewood Village, and I hated it. I can’t remember why or even what I got to eat, but I vowed to never go back. I was afraid this may be the same one, but we shall see.



Cilantro’s is in a shopping center right off of I-40, so it is easy to access. Nothing special about the outside.  However, the inside was large and open, and very clean. (We did show up at 4:00, hence we were almost the only ones there.)


I have decided to start reviewing the bathrooms of restaurants as well. I usually visit the bathroom at a restaurant, even if it is just to wash my hands. Some are great, some are horrifying. As Drew put it, “the bathroom is probably as clean as the kitchen they make your food in”, so I hope this is a welcome addition to our reviews.

This bathroom was very clean. 3 stalls, though a little crowded, great smell, and even good-smelling soap. Thumbs up.


The Food

Happy Hour: We showed up just in time for happy hour, so we both decided on the small house margarita for $3.25.

Drew: Oh yes, this is the same Cilantro’s as in NLR. At that time, celebrating my sister’s birthday with family, I tried the “tamarindo” margarita. It was disgusting, the worst margarita I have ever had. Apparently, I don’t like tamarind.

14360343_10100523533732206_367570390_o  ]

Chips and salsa arrived before the margaritas. We each received a rather large portion of salsa with the chips. The chips were not fresh or warm, but they were nothing to complain about. The salsa was very thin, but had enough flavor to be enjoyable. It was not very spicy, but had a slight kick. Nothing special, but no complaints from either of us.

The margaritas (on the rocks) were in a decent-sized cup to be a small. However, there was a lot more ice than margarita. The taste was very sweet, too sweet. And they may have forgot to add the tequila? I couldn’t taste a lick of alcohol, anyway.

Drew: This was better than the tamarindo margarita I had on the previous trip. However, it was the second worst margarita I have had. Not worth it at all.


The menu was very large and it took us probably 10-15 minutes to decide what to get. We both settled on the tacos and more section of the menu:


I ordered the fish tacos ($9.25) with the jicama-mango slaw (I was VERY excited about this, I hate the regular side of rice at most Mexican restaurants) and the barracho beans.


The plates were huge, and this was no exception. The tacos were each about the size of my hand. There was plenty of slaw, and even though that cup of beans looks tiny, it was plenty.

Let’s start with the tacos. At first glance, the amount of fish in each taco was shocking…in the worst way. Each taco had one tiny, thin, about 2 inches in length, piece of fried fish. I believe it was tilapia.


Upon eating the taco, you had to take two bites to even get to the fish and toppings (lime sauce and pineapple pico de gallo). The fish was very dry. I love a crispy fish, but this was so thin it was way overcooked and hard to chew. The “lime sauce” tasted like straight up sour cream. The pineapple pico was very tasty. All-together, there were about two good bites for each taco, with lots of extra corn tortillas. It also definitely needed salt to accentuate any flavors. Oh yea, and can I get more cilantro on my dish from a restaurant named “Cilantro’s”?  Not my favorite.

Drew: While I didn’t want to admit it at the time because Amy was NOT happy, I enjoyed the fish taco I took from her plate. Hey, we always share plates, don’t get worked up. Yes, the fish was tiny and dry, but the rest of the taco made it very tasty.

Next, the jicama-mango slaw: Also needed salt, and more lime juice….and more cilantro. There was a lot of thick-cut jicama and a smaller amount of small bites of mango. While I love a jicama salad/ slaw, etc., this was not that great. Too much bland jicama. However, this was still better than regular ole rice! I did eat most of it. I also felt it was healthy, which made it seem more enjoyable.

Lastly for my dish, the barracho beans: love! Finally, a dish with enough salt and flavor. These beans steeped in a porky sauce (there seemed to be pieces of bacon or some other form of thin slices of pork) were very tasty.

Drew ordered the carnitas tacos with the same slaw and the refried beans for $8.25.


Same size plate, slaw, and beans. However, and the pic does not do it justice, the amount of carnitas on each taco was huge! They really piled the pork on! It was topped with cilantro, onions, and a slice of avocado.

The tacos were friggin’ great! This may be the best carnitas taco I have ever had, and Drew agrees. There was so much meat. It was cooked perfectly. It was sweet, but not too sweet. There were no inedible fatty bites. It was good! The toppings were few, but were perfect because you wouldn’t want to cover up the star of the show…you know, the carnitas I keep raving about.

Drew agrees with me on the slaw, he didn’t finish his.

The refried beans were definitely from a can, and way too salty…because they are from a can.

Drew: My tacos were delicious, which is way better than whatever I ordered during my last trip. The beans were good, as well. The slaw was a refreshing change, but needed some work.


Amy: I would not volunteer to come back here. If I do, I will not “indulge” on the “alcoholic” beverages. And I will order the carnitas tacos. Nothing but the carnitas tacos is worth returning for.

Drew: This experience was better than my first in NLR. The environment was very clean. The service was fine. The menu was large, but didn’t seem to have too much variety from the typical Mexican restaurant. However, I love a good torta and there was not one on this menu. Though, I think the tacos and sides were better than most Arkansas Mexican restaurants. Would I return? Probably not, though. Amy cooks too well to waste a meal on food that is not delicious. Plus, I like my margaritas way better.