Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Bonfire Lounge

The Bonfire Lounge
2821 SE Stark St.
Happy Hour: everyday 2 - 7 PM


I can't believe that we waited so long to do a review of this place. Bonfire is, by far, one of my favorite happy hour locations in Portland. It's cheap. The food is fantastic. The service goes back and forth...but, with the number of people in the place, it's kinda understandable.

I tend to go back and forth between two options when it comes to the incredibly cheap happy hour food options. Okay, they really are the same thing...just with a different filling. Bonfire has the most amazingly enjoyable gyros. I don't eat meat and that's not a problem. Like I said, I go back and forth. This time I ordered the falafel gyro. It's the less messy choice. The gyro isn't dry like at some places. It has a great crispiness on the outside of each little bite and the inside holds its flavor well. It's covered with tzatziki, some lettuce, tomatoes and feta. Usually there are red onions in the mix but I opted to go without. My other favorite is a portabella mushroom gyro. It has the BEST flavor. I've made a lot of portabella dishes before and have tried twice as many while dining out. When I say this has the BEST flavor, I mean it. But, it's crazy messy. The mushroom holds as much of the juiciness in but tends to drip down the paper wrapping (sometimes down my arm) and all over the plate. It's worth it...unless, of course, you are there with someone new and quite possibly trying to impress them. That's simply a bad idea.



To accompany the gyro (an obvious match as it is usually paired with these when ordering off of the regular menu) we ordered a basket (and then a second basket) of the sweet potato fries. Some people have a strange aversion to sweet potatoes. (Some of those people were sitting at my table...and still we ordered two baskets.) I am not one of those people. I love sweet potatoes. I love them baked. I love them in burritos. I love them, love them, love them. Eating these sweet potato fries at Bonfire helped me to realize that their true calling is to be sliced, deep fried, and tossed (while still warm) with salt and pepper. Pepper, I think. That's what it looks like anyway. Amazing. I think that's all I can say. Eat them. You'll love them. Every time!


To wash everything down (including all the salt that came atop my fries) I ordered one (and then a second) gin and tonic. Not fancy, no. But, it's only two-fifty. That's right, $2.50. With an extra lime (my signature...along with so many others) it is the most refreshing drink after a long day at work (or, at play).

The service today was better than it has ever been. I'm hoping that this is an upward trend as in the past the service would have been my only complaint. It's a busy place...so it would make sense that they are sometimes running behind. Perhaps the difference is the season (or better yet, the weather). During the summer, this place is packed. Outside tables are hard to come by and the servers are going in and out and out and in. While it is too cold to sit outside (those tables are now reserved for the smoking crowd), the servers aren't forced to move around quite as much and are, therefore, more attentive.

One last thing that makes this place so incredibly fantastic is its location. It's just a couple of doors down from the Goodfoot. The Goodfoot also has good food and good drinks, sure, but it's the dancing and live music that makes it so inviting for me. Imagine, you start with happy hour (as early as two), move to the main floor of the Goodfoot for pool (free, at times) and then end the night dancing until closing. It might make for a long night...but, a good night, no doubt.

Food: Exceeds
Drink: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambience: Meets
Value: Exceeds

-b

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