EATS & DRINKS

52 Kilo

3000 Pinnacle Hills Parkway, Rogers | (479) 367-2411 | www.fifty2kilo.com

By Case Dighero | Photos by Meredith Mashburn

 

The vibe at 52 Kilo in the Pinnacle Hills area of Rogers echoes that of the food — sexy, laid back and ultra-dynamic while avoiding pretentiousness. As the sun sets, the music increases slightly in volume and the atmosphere transforms into something akin to ambient swagger propelled by sharp mezcal, a solid wine list and the ethereal kiss of wagyu. Never mind those sprawling steakhouses that serve the overcooked meat sizzling to the table — those who know, know that’s not the way to do it. A steak should always rest before serving, especially wagyu — and any other way is, well, simply a crime.

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 Ben and Jaye Parker

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Jaye and Ben Parker, the owner-operators of the newest steakhouse in the High South region we live in, know and practice this with their wares of buttery, delicious gems of wagyu served on wood in myriad ways, and word is spreading fast because every time I walk in, the place is busier than the time before. 

I mean, why wouldn’t it be? Ben has devised a series of mezcal flights that are geared toward everything from the novice to the most adventurous, including a wild agave experience that is nothing short of extraordinary. They’re also serving a couple varieties of Raicilla, an agave distilled spirit that, even though more fragrant than traditional tequila with floral overtones, is still a smack-in-the-face of an experience and not for the faint of heart. 

Seafood Molcajete

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The drinks on the cocktail menu are simple in name, but not necessarily in design and presentation. The “classics” section is blunt with the simplicity of Margarita ($12) and Old Fashion ($16), and the “house concoctions” beckon with titles that are just a series of numbers. But don’t let that mislead — the brilliance of the #2 ($16) layered with Quierme Mucho Cuishe Mezcal, lime, agave and grilled pineapple shouldn’t go unnoticed nor un-sipped. The bar is worth the trip alone, but trust in knowing that it’s only the proverbial tip of the iceberg at 52 Kilo.

The Parkers met nearly 12 years ago and have miraculously spent most of that time working together; in fact, they also have Prelude Breakfast Bar in Fayetteville, an absolute must for brunch and breakfast aficionados. Still, these days their focus is 52 Kilo, and by all accounts, the business and their relationship are working beautifully in tandem.

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Baby Beets

Chef Jaye, who attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York, is meticulous in her work, curating a menu that appeals to even the most hardcore wagyu lovers, with varieties from Australia, the United States and of course, Japan. The Strip Loin – A5, Miyazaki ($166) is the epitome of true wagyu, buttery tender with meat coated in the archetypal fat, each delicate bite melting across the tongue, palate and throat — truly culinary nirvana. The Cap of Ribeye – A5, Miyazaki ($52) is equally impressive and tender as a five-ounce portion that truly is all anyone would ever need. I’m also an advocate for the Australian Flat Iron Steak – Westholme ($105) that offers a bit less marbling than its Japanese and American counterparts, but still has undeniable flavor and delicate texture.

In true steakhouse form, all menu items are served à la carte, and the selection of hot and cold sides, albeit second fiddle to the wagyu, are wonderfully impressive. My favorite is Baby Beets ($14), a row of bright beet cylinders nestled with whipped goat cheese, arugula, candied pecans and tangy citrus vinaigrette, followed by a close second, the House Potatoes ($14) served smashed in a cast iron skillet with compound butter and drenched in rich wagyu fat. Other notables include a summery Burrata plate ($16) featuring peppers, grilled peaches and fresh vine ripe heirloom tomatoes, Green Goddess Salad ($15), the thinly sliced twirl of Summer Squash ($14) and Tomato Tartare ($25) made with balsamic vinegar, fresh sliced avocado, basil oil, and served with toasted sourdough…and all of which can be made vegan. Oh, and side note: Ben is a vegetarian, and yes, the couple coexists happily.

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Burrata

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Green Goddess Salad

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Summer Squash

The restaurant opens at 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, but keep an eye out for monthly special events that feature wines and food on certain off days of the week; for example, just in time for the hottest part of summer, 52 Kilo will be hosting a “Rosé all Day” private dinner Aug. 23 featuring an impressive list of chilled rosé wines for a set price. Reservations are required. Tickets are $75 per person and must be bought in advance by emailing reservations@fifty2kilo.com. Only 20 tickets are available.

Even though dessert may seem out of the question after such a satisfying repast, I would be remiss if I didn’t reference the best Chocolate Torte ($12) I’ve had in recent memory — rich and velvety, with hints of homemade caramel. This one is an absolute must for chocolate lovers.

Finally, the name is a bit of an enigma: 52 Kilo — is it some secret measurement or code for ethically raised and harvested wagyu? Nope, it’s simply Jaye’s weight converted from pounds to kilos; I’ll let you do the fast math. Regardless, the name is a fitting way to represent the passion this dynamic couple has for stylized hospitality, wagyu beef…and each other.   

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Chocolate Torte

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Raicilla

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Flight

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Old Fashion

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House Potatoes

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Margarita

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House Potatoes

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