Friday, September 03, 2010

Moloko Plus

3967 N. Mississippi Ave
Happy Hour: 4 - 7 PM

Grilled cheese and limeade. Sounds like the perfect summertime meal to me. And it's even better knowing that both are of the grownup variety and a cheap dinnertime fix for only $7.50.

Located in the mix of fancy retailers, restaurants, and bars on Mississippi Avenue, Moloko plus is a skinny little nook of a place with enough house-infused vodka to monopolize the market...if only people knew. We'd walked by a good dozen times before even considering taking a step inside. In fact, it took all summer exploring the neighborhood to check this place out. But I'm glad we did. This place is worth the return visit.

The bar and the furniture and a good chunk of the decor is white. A dirty, cement-like white, but white nonetheless. They do add a splash of color with three over-sized fish tanks and a series of art which must change on a fairly regular basis.

We walked up to the bar to order our first round of drinks. I was impressed to see fresh-squeezed well drinks on discount (only $4.50) and asked for a suggestion. While I went with a tequila and orange juice, orders were also placed for a couple of hefeweizens, something made with a little house-infused coconut rum, and a mojito. I'm so impressed with those places that load up on fresh fruits and some strong armed bartenders rather than using the typical mixers that store so well and are far more convenient to make. And although I don't usually go for tequila (unless I'm drinking a margarita), I enjoyed it mixed with a little fresh OJ.

There were six of us altogether and we fit perfectly at the couches by the front window. The rest of the seating is pretty limited if you are traveling in a pack, but Moloko does offer plenty of tables for two or four. They also have an enclosed patio out back. It's fairly small and filled up before the rest of the bar during happy hour. I'd suggest you get there early if the sun's still out and you are looking for an outdoor seat.

After a good half-hour of conversation, I decided that we'd better order some snacks. The hummus plate was an obvious choice as we would be sharing, but I also placed an order for two paninis. And I'm glad I did as the first two were quickly devoured and an order was placed for three more, turning this happy hour into dinner.

The hummus plate is listed as being organic and is served with carrots, celery, a good sized pile of olives, and blue corn chips. I especially enjoyed the salted chips with hummus. I so often go for pita bread or even pita chips. This was a nice change with a good crunch. The olives come with a pretty hefty crunch, too, as they were NOT pitted. I bit in with hesitation and warned the rest before any damage could be done.

The grilled paninis were an obvious hit. They were served with a big helping of salt and pepper chips and required lots of napkins. My favorite was the chevre and roasted red pepper tapenade. The cheesy concoction was messy and gooey but could just as easily be eaten with the chips as it could sandwiched between two slices of grilled bread. I also had bites of the grilled cheese, which was a mix of two cheeses and came topped with marinated fennel and an herbed butter. And, for the meat eaters, there were two grilled tuna sandwiches (which had a hint of citrus and was made with their own house-made mustard) and a salami sandwich (also with the house-made mustard and the same marinated fennel onions as the grilled cheese).

Before the night was over (with friends from out of town, this happy hour lasted longer than usual) I also ordered a limeaid. Made with fresh squeezed lime juice (obviously) and vodka, this was a real treat. It was a perfect drink for one of the last nights of summer break. So simple yet so refreshingly tasty. I loved every sip.

Service at Moloko Plus was pretty fantastic, too. There was just the one bartender when we arrived but a few more employees came on as the hours of the night went by. All orders have to be placed at the bar (food, too) but they make it pretty obvious that that's how things are done. It might seem a little too impersonal to some...but it seems pretty efficient to me. And this bartender was definitely efficient. She was quick to take orders and was entertaining to watch as she worked her way through the stack of fresh citrus. It was obvious that she knew her way around their fancy cocktail list and could easily suggest a drink made with one of the thirty (or more) house-infused vodkas on the shelf.

I'll do my best to get to Moloko Plus before happy hour ends (which is pretty easy since it goes 'til seven) but wouldn't mind enjoying one of the fancier drinks now and then. The menu was quite intriguing with plenty of creative mixes. They top out at twelve dollars each but are mostly around eight or nine. A little pricey, yes...but not too bad once you consider exactly what's gone into each drink.

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


Moloko Plus on Urbanspoon

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