Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kelly's Olympian

426 SW Washington
Happy Hour: Weeknights until 7PM and late night (midnight until 2AM)

Kelly's Olympian used to have a sad little stage in back. Bands would squeeze into the corner just before the hallway to the restrooms, tripping over their equipment as they tried to please the crowd. It was never--because it could never be--a big crowd. And then there was the remodel. What a difference it has made. Kelly's is now a bar AND a music venue. And when I say now, I mean it has been successfully serving as both for a couple of years.

I had the opportunity to watch the same band on the original stage and on the stage next door. Such an improvement. But this blog is about the happy hour...which--at Kelly's--could use some work.

Sure, we want a cheap eats menu plus a discount on beverages for a few short hours every afternoon. That's not too much to ask, is it? At Kelly's, the happy hour menu is incredibly limited. So limited, it's actually hard to find a menu (not that they are fancy or anything...it's just a piece of paper, copied again and again).

As a vegetarian, I had at least three options. A side salad (my choice, after arriving following a trip to the gym -- I was trying to be "good" of course), mac and cheese bites (which are tempting, yes...but I've tried them once in my life already and I really do think that once was enough), and a hand-written extra referred to as the veggie pita (I'm not sure what all was on it...but, the one that I saw through the dark crown looked like a hummus pizza).

The side salad was exactly to be expected. (Although I expected blue cheese on the side--'cause that's what I ordered--and found ranch dressing instead. No biggie.) It was only $2. That's a pretty fantastic price for a small bowl of veggies. The other options weren't much more. That's a plus at any location. But, being limited to only five or six items was a bit disappointing. I suggest they add something extra...and, not fried. Sure, it's a bar...but, they don't all have to serve bar food, do they?

Gin and tonics are my stand by (as anyone who knows me can tell you...they'd also tell you that I must, must, must request extra lime every time). I ordered one. Just one. It was not special but not in the least bit disappointing. And, it was only three dollars (for the well gin, of course).

To get much of anything (besides a clear table--I'm assuming that they keep the dishwasher going to avoid running low on glasses) you have to order at the bar--especially on a busy Friday night. That's not an absurd request, especially when the bartenders are so very friendly. They deserve good marks when it comes to service, I think.

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


Kelly's Olympian

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sansai Sushi

539 NW 21st Street
Happy Hour: certain items, all day - every day

I'm sure I've mentioned this before...but, I love, love, love running into happy hours on Sunday evenings. Really, I do. I have this new book. It's a guide to restaurants in all of Portland. It's great. They list what's open at ten on a weeknight, what's open after eleven on a weeknight. They have a whole section of restaurants (by area) that are truly vegetarian-friendly. They are, however, missing the list of Sunday night happy hours. I haven't found that list yet. (Perhaps, I need to make it myself.) So, instead, I stumble upon great prices now and then.

And, at Sansai Sushi, the prices are phenomenal. Everything on the menu shaded in gray (which is somewhere between one-third and one-half) is 50% off. Super cheap!

Meeting a friend at Sansai Sushi for dinner might be the best new thing. It's cheap. It's good. And, if there are just two of you...there will always be a seat at the sushi bar. It's almost guaranteed. (On a Sunday night, that is. I can only assume that it's the same on other nights.)

I was starving when I first walked in. No worries, though. The food came out quickly. We both started with a bowl of Miso (only one dollar during happy hour - which seems to be all the time) and a salad. I chose the Sumi Salad. (This one's not listed on the happy hour menu but is only three dollars. It's a cabbage salad, lightly dressed with vinegar and sesame oil. It's also tossed with sliced almonds and sesame seeds - adding the perfect crunch. I really do love cabbage salads...but, never seem to remember that until I'm out.

Before I was done with my salad, the sushi arrived. Presentation is, of course, at the top of the list at Sansai Sushi. You'll just have to imagine how it looked, though, as my photography skills this evening were not quite up to par. I'm blaming it on the lighting. :P As a vegetarian, my options are limited...but, my choices this evening were outstanding. I had the avocado roll and the veggie roll. I absolutely love the crunch of the veggie roll. (After two comments on the great crunch of the menu items that I selected tonight, I'm sure it's clear just how much texture impacts my food preferences.)

Now that I know of the great quality and great prices at Sansai, I know I'll be back. It's also in a great location...as long as you can find parking.

Food: Meets
Drink: N/A
Service: Exceeds
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Exceeds


Sansai Sushi