Sunday, March 30, 2014

Oso Market + Bar

726 SE Grand Avenue
Happy Hour: 4 - 6, Tuesday through Saturday

This is the place that I can't stop talking about. I love it. I love the flavors, I love the atmosphere, I love that I can pick up a bottle of wine, a jar of honey, and a bit of cheese on my way out. Oso Market + Bar is most definitely one of my new favorites. I haven't been in to try brunch yet, but after the experience I had at both dinner and happy hour I am fairly certain it will be beyond delicious.

We stopped in earlier this week just as the sun was peeking out after another bout of heavy rain. The Market is located just off the Morrison Bridge on SE Grand Avenue. From there, we were able to watch as the sky changed from gray to blue to gray and back to blue again. The view of the city is pretty stellar--once you get past the sea of cars, that is--but the combination of shadows and reflections inside the restaurant is what we found to be most impressive. Not as impressive as the food, of course. But still impressive enough to break out the cameras for more than just food pics.

The food at Oso Market + Bar is AMAZING. Whether you are there for dinner or happy hour, there are plenty of small plates available at a reasonable price. They have a number of salads and starters, charcuterie boards (a selection of meats and/or cheeses that can often be found packaged and ready for purchase on the market shelves), full plates, and--my absolute favorite--the section of Montaditos. More commonly known as a small sandwich, Oso Market + Bar is serving a variety of flavor combinations open-faced on a slice of focaccia, but also served over polenta or Peruvian potatoes. These small plates are priced between five and twelve dollars but can be ordered as a sampler--with a choice of four--for $25.

There are so many vegetarian options on the happy hour menu, it made it hard for me to decide what to try. (It also gives me reason to go back again and again to complete the menu offerings.) For this visit, we settled on the roasted carrots ($3) and sautéed radishes ($4) from the happy hour menu and two Montaditos from the regular menu.

The roasted carrots were thinly sliced and came with a dill yogurt dressing. It wasn't a large plate, by any means, but came packed with flavor.

Although cooked slightly, the radishes still held their own with both crunch and their usual bite. The sharpness in flavor had diminished just a bit--which I enjoyed--but having not always been the biggest fan of the root veggie, I was not able to finish the bowl. This is one of those dishes that might just be best when shared.

Hard to share, however, were the two Montaditos. The first was a mix of chopped kale, thinly sliced roasted red pepper, and parmesan all piled high on a slice of focaccia and carefully topped with a fried quail egg. The second--my new favorite--was covered in Cremeux (a cheese I now have in my own refrigerator), topped with quartered figs, more than a drizzle of honey, arugula, and a balsamic reduction. Regardless of the meal or your current state of hunger, I would suggest ordering one of these two open-faced sandwiches--or both, both would be better--to try with the rest of your selections.

All of this paired perfectly with a glass of Tikves Vranec, a red wine from Macedonia. There are plenty of wines available by the glass or the bottle on their regular menu but there's a pretty good chance you'll find something on the market shelves that you'll love if you don't see it in print first. We didn't work our way through the last of the store shelves until just before leaving. While closing out, I learned that happy hour discounts include 10% off all bottles of wine. Rather than fill my arms to capacity, I left with the one I had already selected knowing that--since I can't get enough of their delicious Montaditos--I would be back soon enough anyway.

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


Oso Market + Bar on Urbanspoon

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