Tuesday, July 09, 2013

The Fireside

801 NW 23rd Avenue
Happy Hour: 3 - 5:30, Monday through Friday

Walking into The Fireside was not exactly easy. It's a great space and they offer a pretty stellar happy hour, but it's the history that made it tough to do. Music Millennium is a Portland mainstay and although the original location is still intact after four decades, it's not easy walking into the place that used to be stacked to capacity with hard-to-find hits.

The Fireside is the first--and hopefully only--establishment to open following the close of Music Millennium's downtown location. They've done an amazing job recreating the space. The atmosphere is relaxed yet elegant. There is a gorgeous open fireplace in the center of the main dining room. Even the bathroom is impressive.

We sat at the bar for happy hour. There were plenty of other seats available--including a few outdoor tables placed in perfect view for people watching--but sitting at the bar allowed us the opportunity to watch the bartender at work. We were able to see first hand the extra effort put into each cocktail. I loved it.

I also loved the drink that I ordered. I don't know exactly when I started liking whiskey, but it turns out I do. Must have something to do with the small sips I sample every time my husband orders a whiskey sour. The Mountain is made with Rye whiskey, sweet and dry vermouth, lemon, and egg whites. Egg white drinks aren't always done well, but this one was. Quite well, indeed.

Next to me was the Rum Daisy. From what I read on the menu, it is just a sophisticated take on the classic Shirley Temple. The maraschino cherry isn't straight from the jar and there's a little light rum in the mix, but the general sense of the drink is a grown up version of my favorite childhood beverage.

The food menu is lengthy and includes items priced from three to eight dollars. There were plenty of veggie options available (something that always makes me happy) and a lot of choices that could easily constitute a full meal.

The Pickle Plate was the first item on the menu and the first to arrive at the bar. For four dollars, we enjoyed sampling a mix of interesting pickled things. There were sea beans, turnip greens, red onions, green strawberries, and a hard boiled egg. The Pickle Plate might be a little too pickly for one person to finish but is a great tasting plate to share.

While sampling the foods available at The Fireside, I discovered my new favorite condiment. (Everyone needs one, right?) The ketchup served with their french fries--and probably many other plates on the menu--is made in-house with smoked tomatoes. It was so delicious and new and delicious that we asked if it was available bottled and ready for purchase on its own.

French fries are available on their own for three dollars or alongside a grilled cheese sandwich (or the hunter sandwich if you're a meat eater) for six. The grilled cheese is made with white cheddar and includes plenty of roasted red peppers.

Roasted red peppers are also a main ingredient on the pizza we sampled--but this time in the form of a spread. The pizza was thin and topped with potatoes and greens. The combination of flavors worked well together. So well, that I might attempt to make the same at home.

Happy Hour at The Fireside is only available on weekdays between 3 and 5:30 but their menu includes small plates and snacks at a reasonable price no matter what time you walk in. And if you are there during happy hour, keep in mind that they offer discounted dessert. House-made marshmallows and chocolate sandwiched between house-made graham crackers for only six bucks make these Smore's so much better.

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


Fireside on Urbanspoon

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