Sunday, December 13, 2009


625 NW 21st Street
Happy Hour: 4 PM - 7 PM, daily

We sat down to a birthday dinner with a group of about fifteen just minutes before happy hour ended. It was completely unintentional--and not everyone took advantage of the great prices--but, I couldn't resist. It meant a smaller bill, a fuller belly, and another opportunity to write a review of one of Portland's long-standing establishments.

It was my sister's birthday. Apparently, this was the place she and her friends spent a lot of their free time during the latter part of college. Some years later, they decided it would make for a great venue for a birthday celebration.

The crowds are no more, it seems. Perhaps it was the cold night and threat of icy streets that kept people from hitting this spot on a December Saturday. Or, perhaps the action has moved down a few streets. Either way, it meant that our large party had plenty of room to spread out.

I finished my first lemon drop while waiting for the food to arrive. It was a touch on the sweet side and didn't seem to contain much alcohol. I did settle for the house vodka, which meant for a four dollar price tag but might have caused all the problems. Oh well. I ordered a second just the same.

To share, we ordered nachos. Everyone who reached in seemed to be completely impressed with these. There was a mix of yellow and blue corn chips, beans, cheese, jalapenos, avocado, salsa and sour cream. I had been expecting the typical packaged guacamole and was happy to see big chunks of avocado instead. Good choice on their part, for sure.

From the regular menu, we ordered the spicy vegetable sushi roll. Spicy, for sure...but quite good. Those who stuck to the happy hour-priced California rolls were a little jealous of the spicy sauce that accompanied this roll and kept reaching across the table for a taste.

I also ordered the blue cheese and pear salad. The blue cheese, pear slices and candied hazelnuts would have done better on a different bed of greens. The lettuce was limp and the vinaigrette left much to be desired.

Despite the inconsistent food review, the service at the Gypsy was remarkable. Our server was quick to return with every request regardless of the size of our party.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Nearly Meets
Service: Exceeds
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets