Thursday, July 09, 2009

Three Degrees

Every menu seems to include something that just doesn't fit. It's like walking into a pub and ordering a Thai dish. It doesn't quite work. And, it always seems to lead to disappointment. I think I'm now able to spot that one thing and have done my best to avoid it. At Three Degrees, there's one on the menu and then there is also something that doesn't quite fit about the entire experience.

Being someone who is overly optimistic (and all too supportive) I'm usually able to make up some sort of excuse about whatever it is that isn't quite up to par. At Three Degrees, the service is far from it...and, I'd like to believe that someone called in sick, or that there was a large, unexpected party on the other side of the restaurant monopolizing our poor server's time. Perhaps it really is that slow. And, perhaps it will keep some people from returning.

On a slow summer afternoon, though, it didn't matter how long I waited for the server to take my order or just how long it took for her to return the bill once everything had been processed. I was in full relaxation mode. I had nowhere to be and was honestly not even aware that it was taking so long. Maybe it was the pedicure I'd had earlier in the day or the two glasses of red wine that I was enjoying. Or, maybe it is simply the fact that I'm on summer vacation and not willing to let that feeling of anxiety creep in.

Along with my new found ability to spot the item on the menu that isn't a match, I also feel that I'm able to target the good deals. At Three Degrees--like most happy hour locations in Portland--the low prices are found on the food menu. They are then able to make up the difference through the price of the drinks. At Three Degrees, they offer three dollar food items. They also offer three dollar glasses of wine. One red and one white are offered at the discounted rate each day. That change, however, might lead to disappointment on a return visit. The selection of the day, for me, was a great fit and went well with my meal.

Playing it smart, I started with a salad and waited for all of the other food to come out before I ordered something a little more substantial. It's nice to get a look at the food that is being offered before making a selection and as we were the first to arrive for the afternoon's happy hour, it was nearly impossible to do so. The salad had a light vinaigrette (perfect, in my opinion), dried cranberries and manchego cheese all over mixed baby greens. It's not large enough to make a meal out of it...but, was well worth the three dollar price tag.

After the others received their selections, and I had a minute or two to see just what each of them thought, I ordered the grilled cheese sandwich. It took extra time, of course, but--as I was completely happy sipping my red wine--it mattered not. The sandwich was far from the typical grilled cheese. With chopped tomatoes, basil leaves and a white cheese on sourdough bread, I was quite impressed.

I finished my meal, a second glass of red wine and enjoyed the leisurely end to my experience at Three Degrees. With outdoor seating (including large wooden rocking chairs) overlooking the Willamette River, this restaurant has quite a bit to offer. On an overcast day in July, there weren't too many patrons other than those who were staying at the attached hotel. I'm pleased that our late arrival didn't mean a seat inside or even no seat at all. Perhaps this happy hour isn't as well known or perhaps the slow service we experienced today has led others to avoid the three dollar deals. I suppose that if the sun had been out, it could have been a completely different situation. Although I probably won't be back anytime soon, I won't write this place off just yet. I will remember, though, to arrive early and give myself plenty of time to enjoy what Three Degrees has to offer.

Food: Meets
Drink: Meets
Service: Does Not Meet
Ambiance: Exceeds (the noise of nearby construction was at no fault to the restaurant)
Value: Meets (Exceeds, if you stick with the discounted wine of the day)


Three Degrees