Review No. 49: Mosaique Bistro
250 Donaghey Ave., Suite 110
27.3 percent finished reviewing Conway restaurants
She Said: I was supposed to be “fasting” (eating 500 calories or fewer for the day), which I usually do on Mondays and Thursdays, partly to offset the effects of these restaurant reviews, but it was the eighth anniversary of my market-research consultancy, and I really, really wanted to celebrate. So I suggested Mosaique for a review meal and a celebratory cocktail, and He Said went for it! I don’t usually like to go to brand new restaurants for reviews—I’m not sure it’s fair as they need time to work out kinks—but I was dying to try this place, so we went for it.
He Said: Happy 8th anniversary, Ariel Strategic! Yes, we actually arrived the first day they were serving from their full menu. Didn’t give them a lot of time to work out the bugs.
She Said: I like the look and feel inside Mosaique. First, the wall of windows of Donaghey Center that look out on the campus make the interior light and airy, but the colors they use, the sand tones, whites and browns, are soothing and not overstimulating. They don’t compete with the view, which is beautiful. We sat in a window-side booth, that was very comfortable and felt private, even though the restaurant is very open.
He Said: Yes, it was very open and while the full bar across the street from Thompson Hall was a wee bit startling to a longtime Conway resident and UCA employee, it was definitely not an unpleasant sight.
She Said: I was celebrating! So, I went for the white-cranberry cosmopolitan first. This felt like a party in a glass. It was light and fun, not too sugary or sweet, and came delicately presented in a stemless glass. When I finished this, I tried a glass (or two—who’s counting? It’s a party!) of the red draft wine pinot noir they have on offer. It was lovely, and two glasses of it cost as much as the cocktail alone. But I do think they need to offer more wines, specifically cabernet if not malbec, my personal favorite. They only offer more variety in bottled wine. If you want it by the glass, they have one white (pinot grigio) and one red.
He Said: Still trying to avoid caffeine, I went with a Sprite. Got a free refill without asking for it, which was sweet.
She Said: First, I need to go on the record as wanting to go back to Mosaique because there are so many things on the menu I want to try, and the sandwiches that look so delicious on the menu are not available for supper, so I’ll have to visit for lunch soon for sure. In the end, I chose the “crashed potatoes” appetizer because when I’m indulging, fried potatoes are what I go for every time. This dish is fried potato cakes topped with marinara sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan and crispy bacon. This meant that He Said couldn’t share too much of these with me, though he did have a couple saucy bites. This dish was delicious and the texture was perfect, crispy on the outside and soft, flaky taters inside. The coating was a little thick for me, but it was still tasty, and the topping, even with the tomato-based sauce, which isn’t my personal favorite, was seasoned enough that the tomato flavor was just part of the chorus, not the soloist.
For a side, we wanted the spicy pan-fried Brussels sprouts (greens, healthy greens!), but the waitress explained to us that since they were just opening, they did not have those that night, so instead we went with the “equally healthy” sweet potato fries (see the theme here?). They were very tasty and came with a maple-syrup sauce that made them as addictive as crack and definitely edged out any thoughts of dessert I’d had when I sat down. If you do nothing soon but come here for drinks, get these to share and go for it.
For my entrée, I chose the lobster and dumplings, which is Maine lobster meat and handmade dumplings tossed in a truffle cream sauce, flavored with leeks and mushrooms. This was the bomb-diggity, very rich and tasty, satisfying and filling with a very pleasant medley of flavors. I did think it may have been a little light on the lobster, which meant it was heavy on the fat in the cream and the carbs in the dumplings, but I would order this again, and I look forward to doing so.
He Said: I started with the tomato-basil soup, which I honestly would not recommend. Normally a favorite of mine, this version was thicker than a normal soup, and was way too spicy for the tomato basil lover. Truthfully, it seemed more like a bowl of sauce than of soup. In fact, what I did was take pieces of the very delicious potato cakes appetizer and dip them in the soup. As a sauce, it was great!
The sweet potato fries were also a treat. As Jones said, they come with a syrupy sauce that makes them taste like little slices of French toast. You definitely won’t need dessert if you order these, and you won’t be sorry you did either!
A number of entrees were just not going to work with my low-fat diet—red meat, fatty creams, fried. The menu lists some “special” entrees, including grouper and Louisiana redfish which were a little pricey but which I’ll probably try next time I’m here. Otherwise the sea food is pretty much all shellfish, which I’m not a fan of (and besides, Jones was having the lobster), so for the sake of the review, I opted for the roasted chicken—described on he menu as “half of a roasted chicken glazed with honey soy sauce.” Now roasted means not fried (I could have had the chicken fried chicken if I wanted to throw dietary caution to the winds, but this I deemed a much wiser choice), and here is no fat in honey or soy, so this seemed the perfect entrée for me. And when it came it looked spectacular, the glaze having been blackened on the skin. I don’t actually know what Mosaique’s policy is on where they buy their supplies, but this tasted and had the consistency of a naturally raised bird—perhaps his name was Colin—and tasted great. Half a chicken is a lot for me to eat, especially after potato-based appetizer, but I didn’t leave much of that bird, and I’d definitely eat it again.
She Said: Our server was stellar and we had no complaints about service, which is unusual in a new establishment. She was attentive and personable without pulling my focus from my handsome date and our delicious food. I was pleased and felt this is the right note for service in a restaurant of this type in Conway.
An added note though: About a week later, I was here to meet a friend. I arrived around 4:30 p.m. The hostess appeared from the kitchen and spoke with the woman waiting ahead of me, didn’t look at me, and returned to the kitchen. And then I stood there and stood there and stood there. I was confused: She had seen me standing there, knew I was waiting and abandoned me with no apparent second thought. Luckily, a waitress came along and was willing to rescue me. Not cool, hostess, not cool. (And thank you, waitress!)
He Said: You had a handsome date on your first visit? Did he show up after I left? We did have the same server, I guess, and she was really completely together, even when she had to give us the bad news about the Brussels sprouts.
What We Got and What We Paid: A white-cranberry cosmopolitan, 2 glasses of Mark West pinot noir, a Sprite, crashed potatoes, tomato basil soup, roasted chicken, lobster and dumplings and sweet potato fries for $79.64.
She Said: This is on the more indulgent roster for Conway restaurants, but there are almost no venues on that list, so I’m grateful to have it. I can’t wait to sample more of the menu, and I hope the hostess is in a hospitable mood.
He Said: I’m definitely interested in paying Mosaique another visit—maybe I’ll have the grouper or the redfish next time. Probably will go with a different soup—maybe the chicken noodle. Or a salad—they’ve got plenty of choices.
So…He Said and She Said: Go here for a special evening or for posh drinks and tasty apps in an attractive, friendly setting.
Editor's Note: Eat It, Conway is produced by local author Jay Ruud and his wife (poet and novelist Stacey Margaret Jones). The couple has begun an attempt to eat at and review, every restaurant in Conway, Arkansas. The Log Cabin Democrat and thecabin.net are publishing Eat It, Conway with permission from the authors. Visit them online at jayruud.com and on Facebook at Eat It, Conway. In addition to restaurant reviews, Ruud authors movie reviews on the site.