Friday, June 05, 2015

BTU Brasserie

5846 NE Sandy Blvd
Happy Hour: 2 - 5 PM, Tuesday through Sunday

Sandy Boulevard is growing. It seems that every time I take that route I'm adding another restaurant to my list of happy hour musts. BTU Brasserie has been on that list for a while now, but the sidewalk seating and the summer sun finally got me there late last week.

BTU is a Chinese restaurant AND a brewery. (I'm sure that all restaurants would make their own beer if they had the space and the know how.) They are open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday (although with a later opening on the weekends). And happy hour is available all of the days they are open, making this a perfect spot for an early Sunday dinner (or a really late lunch because Sunday morning pancakes can be SO filling).

The happy hour menu includes a LONG list of food with a number of vegetarian options. We were expecting the portions to be smaller (it being happy hour and all) and might have ordered more than we really needed. Thankfully, they were willing to let us take what was left home (which is not always the case during happy hour).

I ordered the Copper Well Noodles, Smoked Tofu Bao, and the scallion pancake, while my husband enjoyed the Pork Potstickers, the Spicy Chicken Dumplings, and the Braised Pork Belly Bao.

The scallion pancake was the first to the table and would have probably been devoured in minutes if the other dishes weren't so quick to arrive. I went a little overboard with the sweet soy sauce (because it was that good) and loved the chewy, crispy, crunchy textures that the pancake had to offer. This dish is perfect for sharing and something that I would order again, even off of the regular dinner menu.

I haven't had a lot of experience with baos (they're usually stuffed with MEAT) and can't really compare the ones I tried at BTU with any others. I can say that the smokey qualities of the tofu were really only obvious when eaten on its own. That wasn't the case, however, for the meaty version consumed by my husband. He seemed to love every bite.

He also loved the potstickers and the dumplings. He mentioned that--despite their name--the spicy chicken dumplings could have been packed with a little more heat. He's got a pretty high tolerance, though. There's a chance that they are just spicy enough.

My FAVORITE dish was the big bowl of Copper Well Noodles. Available with either tofu or chicken, these wheat noodles are loaded with veggies--mostly peppers, but carrots and bean sprouts, too--and covered in a ginger-y sauce. I loved every bite (both that night and when eating the leftovers for lunch the next day) and will most definitely order this dish again. It's enough food that I'll probably order just this dish (and maybe the scallion pancake, if someone wants to share) next time I am in.

Pints of beer are discounted during happy hour ($3 down from $4.50) and they've got a few cleverly concocted house cocktails to choose from as well. The beer is made in-house and rotates seasonally. And like so many places around town, if you love what you're drinking you can get a growler to go.

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


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