Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tasting East Bar- CLOSED

909 SW Park Ave.
Happy Hour: 4-7 p.m. and 9-close
Tasting East Website

It has been a LONG time since I have done a Happy Hour review.  A crazy school year, plus trying to cut back on eating out so I will look fabulous in my wedding dress, equals very few Happy Hour opportunities.  (Luckily B. started doing reviews again once summer started, so this blog hasn't been completely abandoned!)  When Tasting East mentioned on Twitter that we should come try their Happy Hour, I thought it sounded like a fun new place (I loved the bar that used to be in this location--I even had my birthday there a few years ago).

Tasting East is in the Paramount Hotel, and it is divided into two sides around the lobby.  One side is a restaurant and the other side is a bar.  We went to the bar and sat in a booth.  We arrived shortly after opening, and we were the first ones there.  By the time we left there were a lot more customers, but throughout our whole time at Tasting East we received really great service. Our server was really nice, checked on us regularly, and offered suggestions when we seemed unsure of what to order.

To start with, all three of us ordered the Bartender's Special for $4.  This drink rotates, but the one that was on special was made with lemonade, vodka, mango and a splash of soda.  This was pretty much the perfect drink for two out of three of us because of our love of the combination of vodka and lemon.  The drink did not disappoint!  They also had well drinks for $3, as well as house wine for $4.  I believe that they also had sake on special, but I can't remember if there was a beer special, too.  I did try the house white wine, too, and I found it really refreshing.

As any regular reader of this blog knows, our favorite places have both food and drink specials during Happy Hour.  Tasting East says on their website that they have happy prices all the time on food and specials on drinks during Happy Hour.  However, they did offer a few discounted specials on food during Happy Hour as well, and their menu was full of small plates that were reasonably priced.  I ended up "sharing" the sweet potato fries ($3.95) with my friend, which really meant I ate all but two myself.  These were different than any other sweet potato fries I have had because they were extremely thin and crispy.  They had a buttery taste to them.  I would not say that they were my favorite sweet potato fries ever (that prize still belongs to Bonfire), but they definitely grew on me as I continued to eat them.

I wasn't sure what to get for my next food item, and the server suggested the scallion pancake sandwich ($5.95).  I doubt I would have ordered it on my own, but I was really glad she suggested it once I got it.  This was the most filling menu item on the table. I got the Bulgogi beef version (they also have a chicken one).  They looked a lot like tacos with a filling of meat, spicy sauce and shredded cabbage.  The pancake on the outside was chewy and delicious. My vegetarian friend said that they should make a tofu-filled version so she can try them out, too; maybe they will add her suggestion to the menu in the future!

The favorite dish of the night was not ordered by me (but two plates were ordered, as one was just not enough once we tasted the first plate). I don't know about you, but whenever I make a veggie tray for a party, the cauliflower is ALWAYS the least eaten vegetable.  Also, "My favorite vegetable is cauliflower," is something I have never heard anyone say, ever. So no one was more surprised than me to find out that Street Cauliflower ($2.95) was an incredibly flavorful and delicious dish. I don't really have anything to compare it to since it was so unique, but I definitely urge you to try it out if you come here.  Even if you aren't a cauliflower fan!

The only thing that I didn't really enjoy was the sake that my friends got.  They tried pear, raspberry and one that was supposed to taste like candy.  The only one that I sort of liked was the pear one. Sadly, the candy and raspberry ones did not taste good at all (and I LOVE candy).

Overall, I really liked Tasting East for Happy Hour.  It's not the kind of place where you can make Happy Hour into dinner due to the small plates theme, but it is great for tasty drinks and unique snacks.

Food: Meets (cauliflower exceeds)
Drinks: Exceeds
Service: Exceeds
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets


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