Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Oven and Shaker - a second perspective

1134 NW Everett Street
Happy Hour: 2:30 - 4 PM

It's always good to have a second opinion, right? That was part of our original intent with this food blog anyway. We'd all three go to the same place and write about what we liked and didn't like. That way it wasn't just one person's opinion. We each have our own ideas about flavors, textures, service expectations, cost, variety in menu options (especially for me, the number of vegetarian options is SUPER important) and it shows in our writings. Since we started, though, we often dine separately. This allows us to hit a greater number of happy hours. We still get together on a pretty regular basis (during the summer break, that is) for official blogging happy hours. And this was one of those occasions. But for this particular happy hour establishment, our opinion was mostly the same.

Oven and Shaker is in The Pearl, sandwiched between two other restaurants on Everett and just around the corner from one of our favorite martini bars, Vault. It's a great little string of restaurants that always gives you backup in case the wait's too long at one or the other. And now that I know there are two other places to go for happy hour, I'll be back in the neighborhood soon.

I will not, however, be back to Oven and Shaker for happy hour anytime soon. It's just too spendy. The pizza is good, don't get me wrong...but when I'm on my way out for happy hour I'm looking for a deal.

A big part of the issue (in my opinion, that is) is the lack of drink discounts. I know, I know. I sound super cheap. But there are plenty of other wood-fired pizza places out there that can offer both a great deal on food AND beverage, so why can't they? The other part of the problem is that happy hour at Oven and Shaker is TOO early. It starts at 2:30 and ends at 4. They might as well advertise it as a late lunch. I love when happy hour starts early, but I don't love when they end early too.

For lunch that day, I ordered the Semplice salad and a Margherita pizza. The salad was a mix of greens, fennel, and apple (giving it good texture), and was dressed with a red wine vinaigrette. It was a small plate but carried a lot of flavor.

The pizza had perfectly chewy crust and a good mix of flavors. The ratio of sauce to cheese was a bit off, though. I'm sure that this is a personal preference of mine, but I feel that when fresh mozzarella is used on pizza, you really have to watch the melting stages carefully. Overdone mozzarella loses a lot of its quality and, in the case with this saucy pizza, becomes totally outdone by the other ingredients. And although the basil leaves left whole made for better aesthetics, I would have preferred the flavor of the herb to be spread throughout. I guess it's a good thing I liked the crust so much.

Although disappointed with the lack of drink discounts, I did enjoy what I ordered. I've loved Pimm's Cups ever since I went on the walking cocktail tour in New Orleans. They are SO refreshing on a hot summer day (especially an incredibly hot and humid summer day like you'll find in New Orleans in July). At Oven and Shaker, they've taken the Pimm's Cup to a new level. It's a yummy treat.

I'd like to give happy hour at Oven and Shaker another chance...but I secretly hope that they will reevaluate their pricing and discounts before I do.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Does Not Meet


Oven and Shaker

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