Tuesday, July 19, 2011

50 Plates

333 NW 13th Avenue
Happy Hour: 3 - 6 and 9 - close, Monday through Thursday;
3 - 6 and 10 - close, First Thursdays, Friday, and Saturday;
4 - close Sundays

I have to admit, I was expecting to be seriously disappointed with the happy hour at 50 plates. I can remember looking at their website last summer, thinking it would be one that we could skip...that they just didn't have enough to offer. And then again before heading out the door yesterday, I checked the website finding just a few things listed on their happy hour menu. Four food items, to be exact. And only one of them vegetarian-friendly. Apparently, I was wrong to have such poor expectations. I was not disappointed in their happy hour at all. Now I'm only disappointed with their website. You can do better, 50 Plates. And you should if you want to get new business. So many of us check menus online before going out. I know I do it to be sure that there will be something that I can eat. And I know I am not the only one.

We walked in just as happy hour started. It starts at three, which is fantastic during the summer months. We can get in before any rush of the nine-to-fivers come piling in. It was definitely quiet that early on but the outdoor seating filled up quickly, despite the rain clouds.

The happy hour menu has fifteen food items to choose from (not four as I had once thought...again with the website). The prices range from one to six dollars, which means you can get quite a few plates for very few bucks. And you'll need to get more than one...since they are all so tiny. Itty bitty, really. (I wasn't the one who said it, but I can't NOT repeat the witty claim that you won't get full at 50 Plates unless you eat all 50 plates.) It does make for good sharing, though, and I like the idea of having lots of little flavors than being stuck with one I just don't like.

The back of the menu lists all sorts of fancy cocktails for nine dollars apiece. On the inside, however, is a short list of discounted drinks. And on that list was one of my favorites. So I ordered a Vodka Gimlet. And it was one of the better Gimlets I've had to date. On the other side of the table was a drink that will never make it to the top of my list of favorites. Anything that bitter will never be my go-to. They call it an Americano for a reason I don't yet know and it's made with Campari. We had to look that one up...and probably should have done so prior to ordering it. Some people might enjoy the bitter flavor of the Americano...but neither of us did.

While waiting for our first order, the server (who had done a pretty fantastic job so far) brought out a cup of popcorn. It was covered with garlic powder, Parmesan, and dill. I had never thought to put dill on popcorn before...but I like the idea and will try it again, I am sure.

We started with the Hush Puppies. They had some sort of fancy pepper and hominy mixed in prior to frying and were served with a spicy sour cream. There were just two of them, so we each had a bite. I especially liked the textures as they changed so much between the light and crispy outer layer and the soft fluffy insides. The sauce went well but wasn't exactly spicy.

After the first tiny plate, we decided to order separately. (That meant, of course, that some not-so-vegetarian things would be coming to the table.) I ordered the mac and cheese and on the other side of the table was the Monte Cristo. Someday I need to try a no-meat Monte Cristo. I like the idea of mixing the savory with the sweet. This one was served with powdered sugar and two Amerena cherries.

The mac and cheese was creamy and cheesy and came with a good amount of breadcrumbs on top. I saw it go into the wood-fired oven and was a little worried when one of the cooks brought it straight to the table from there. So hot! After waiting a minute or two, I could finally taste what I was eating. It was yummy but not enough to bring me back. I'll be back, though, but to try one of the other forty-some plates.

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


50 Plates

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