Sunday, October 27, 2013

Shakers Martini Lounge

1888 NW Fairview Drive
Gresham, Oregon
Happy Hour: 4 - 7, Monday through Friday

Gresham has been without a martini bar for too many years. We had found the Elbow Room only months before they closed their doors (and long before we began blogging). It used to be housed in the basement of (and owned by the same people who owned) Central Cafe--a favorite among teachers in our building for fancy-pants breakfasts and lunches that last longer than what the workday could handle. High quality martinis are a must for a strong finish to a hectic workweek. (They are especially appreciated after spending the day on a field trip with 165 thirteen-year-olds.) And that is why we are happy to have found Shakers Martini Lounge.

Like most martini lounges, Shakers has a long list of cocktails designed to please every palate. The menu is divided into three sections: sweet, sassy, and sophisticated. Those listed under the sophisticated strand are made with top shelf (or, at least, close to it) varieties and, therefore, come with a mightier price tag. Knowing that, I will be sure to make my selection more carefully next time. The ten dollar price listed next to my cucumber basil smash would have been more acceptable in a high-end restaurant but could have easily been replicated with something other than Grey Goose and still have been just as satisfying.

They do have plenty of cocktails available for less (I should have been playing closer attention to detail). Their happy hour martinis are all priced at four dollars each (similar in price to martinis at both Vault and Bartini) but are limited to six of those found in the full menu. They do have beer and wine available, despite the name of the establishment. And if you ask nicely, they would probably make you something as simple as a gin and tonic.

The food discounts seem appropriate but the options could use a little work. We love that there are nachos available, but want to see some fresh pico or a little heat built in. Without it, these are a little too like the ones I nooked in the microwave back in early elementary school when using the oven still required adult supervision.

A veggie assortment (even if just a few carrots or a slice or two of cucumber) would add so much appeal to the hummus plate. We know it's discounted, but when the hummus and the pita are served side-by-side the lack of color takes the overall food and flavor rating down by at least three points.

The wedge salad was most enjoyable (of the discounted items purchased--I went full price for the cheese plate, just because) as it was covered in chunks of delicious blue cheese and chopped tomatoes. I was, of course, eating the wedge without its traditional bacon crumbles and so can't describe the quality or change in flavor combinations. Either way, I loved every crunchy bite.

Service was decent and I enjoyed the music selection but did find the window paintings to be more the match of a family restaurant than that of a classy martini bar. I suppose when the seasons change, their approach to window treatment will change as well. Even without a second review, I will be sure to mention any improvements made with the next visit. It's to be expected, being so new, that there will be changes to the menu and the approach.

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


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