Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A second review of Radio Room

1101 NE Alberta
Happy Hour: 3 - 6 PM and 11 PM - 2 AM

Wow! This place has A LOT to offer. First, it's a totally different place if you get there in the morning. They call it Bingo Masters Cafe if you arrive anytime between 7 in the morning and the start of happy hour at 3 PM. It's a limited menu (compared to the dinner menu, that is) with scrambles, soups and salads. Mimosas and Bloody Marys, too. And since the place is called Bingo Masters, you can come in for a game of Bingo. It's available every Monday night. There are prizes (fierce prizes, according to the sign) and it's FREE. They also have live DJs at least once a week and Wet Hot American Trivia (W.H.A.T.) on the second and last Tuesday of every month. All that...and a fantastic happy hour menu.

Happy Hour runs from 3 to 6 every afternoon but starts up again at 11 PM and runs until closing. We arrived promptly at 3 to get a good table. Being Monday afternoon, we didn't have too much competition to get the good seat. There's plenty of outdoor seating and that is exactly what we chose. We didn't know, however, that there was also outdoor seating UPSTAIRS. How nice would that have been? Next time, for sure. Although I think next time we'll be there for BINGO and we probably can't play from that far away.

Our server was super efficient and came to check on us right away. I, of course, was not quite ready as there were SO MANY drinks to choose from. (Seriously, they almost had too many signature drinks. It made it hard to decide.) In the end, I asked for a suggestion. From the three she listed, I ordered the Bugsy Burns. It's something I enjoyed...but not too many others at the table agreed with my liking. It wasn't sweet. (I've been on a sweet kick lately.) It was crisp and refreshing with a mix of vodka and house-made ginger ale. House-made, of course, means that there was real ginger involved. It probably won't be everyone's favorite but I liked it.

The food menu was also a bit too much for me. I had such a hard time deciding. I guess I didn't ever really decide between the last two. Instead, I ordered both. The super fancy grilled cheese was filled with tomatoes and basil and served on a plate that had been drizzled with a reduced balsamic. It was good...but having recently been spoiled with garden fresh tomatoes and basil, it was a little weak. The tomatoes needed more tomato flavor. That's just my opinion and I admit to being spoiled with ultra fresh flavors. I'm sure I'd be much more appreciative during the winter months. That's just how it is. The polenta cakes, however, made up for it. Big time.

I've only had polenta three or four times now. (And twice at the same place.) It's not something that I grew up eating. But I am learning that it is something I truly LOVE. The stuff has great texture (at least when prepared properly). At Radio Room, the polenta cakes are made with marscapone. Yum. They were grilled on the outside with a perrfectly golden brown layer of crunch and then super melty on the inside. So good. Plus, they were served on a paprika cream sauce that I couldn't stop eating. (I promise I didn't lick the plate. But I totally would have...had it been appropriate. Instead, I used every bit of polenta to sop that stuff up.) Obviously, I'm super impressed with the polenta at Radio Room. I'll probably order it every time from now on.

Even though it's not on the happy hour menu, we decided to order dessert. It sounded pretty scrumptious. From the picture, you can tell that they were super cute. And there were four of them and four of us...so it was PERFECT. Right? Wrong. It was a dessert made of four fantastic things: strawberries, chocolate, whipped cream and deep fried pie dough. Good flavors, yes. But the ratio was off. There was just a bit too much dough for my liking. I also think that I might prefer baked pie dough to the deep fried variety. I missed the flakiness. Now I know. It's that simple.

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


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