Saturday, May 07, 2011

Red Star Tavern and Roast House

503 SW Alder St
Happy Hour: 4 - 8 PM

I had never been to the Red Star Tavern before last weekend. It's a steak place, primarily, and so it makes complete sense that a vegetarian wouldn't put it high on the list of musts. But we were headed to a movie on Saturday night and wanted to go out beforehand. Not only is the Red Star in the perfect location for a night at the movies (we were headed to the theater inside Pioneer Place) but their happy hour lasts until 8 PM.

The bar was full when we first walked in and we were in need of a table for three. My guess is that this place stays pretty full for the four-hour happy hour (especially on Fridays and Saturdays). A table opened up within a couple of minutes and we were seated.

Service was pretty fantastic in the bar. It's situated in such a way that the servers can easily keep an eye on the table without hovering. Our server was back to check on us whenever it seemed necessary. And when ordering drinks, they were delivered within a minute or two. Fast, efficient, and friendly. So nice!

This place is perfect for martinis. They are CHEAP during happy hour, just five dollars. I started with a cosmopolitan but then discovered the Red Star Signature cocktail. It's bright red (which fits) and served with a sugar rim. Perfect for the ladies. (At least ladies like me who prefer sugary cocktails to beer. Yuck!) It's made with vanilla vodka and raspberry liqueur. Next time I'll totally skip the cosmo for this treat. It's probably chock-full of calories...but sometimes that's okay.

To eat, I started with a salad and the chickpea fritters. The salad was topped with a dry jack cheese and toasted hazelnuts (thanks for not using walnuts!) and was dressed with a grain mustard vinaigrette.

The chickpea fritters were the only veggie option (besides popcorn and olives) and something that I was curious about. They were light in texture and had a pleasing flavor but were very much a fried food. They were served with a harissa sauce that wasn't nearly as strong as I had expected. I think that the sauce could use some improvement.

For the meat eaters at the table, we also ordered a couple of plates of sliders, the bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers (made with real jalapeno and apparently hot, hot, HOT), and a plate of pork shoulder (which was served like any pulled pork but looked to be ultra tender).

We ended up staying in the bar longer than I had expected and so (along with that second drink) I ordered a plate of macaroni and cheese. It's not on the bar menu but when I spotted it at a neighboring table, I had to ask the server. It was gooey and yummy and everything that I always want in a baked mac and cheese.

We've been using the same system for "grading" all of these happy hours since starting the blog two summers ago. It's time for something new. Not different, though. Just an addition to the grading system. It's time to mention that special something that stands out about the place. Like extra credit. Maybe not every place will deserve extra credit, but the Red Star does. The Red Star Tavern and Roast House gets extra credit for having an extended happy hour. They serve discounted food and drinks from four to eight every night and I think that's fantastic.

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


Red Star Tavern & Roast House

Red Star Tavern & Roast House on Urbanspoon


  1. That's awesome to know! I work near this place but have never been. It looks nice and the extended happy hour makes me want to go there even more!

  2. I didn't know you weren't "walnut friendly"! The salad looks great. How was the mac and cheese? I'll have to give this place a try for hapy hour. Extension in this area along with great service are not easy to find.