Friday, July 31, 2009

I'd like to hear from you

Greetings readers!
I would like to know what restaurants/bars you would like me to review. I'm sure there are several places completely off my radar but could be possible gems. Post your thoughts and ideas here and I will do my best to consume libations, savor vittles, and provide a review of each location.

Thank you!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Melting Pot
200 N 6th Street

Time: 5-7 Daily
Special: $3 micros, $2 other beers, $5 wines, $3.50 wells, and $5 Feature drinks and martinis
Rating: 4.5 martinis
Smoking: no
Other mentions: Full Bar, seating outside, $5 appetizer specials

The Melting Pot is a fondue restaurant located in downtown Boise. It opened a few years ago and has been very successful, filling a niche that is otherwise absent in the area. It is also much more than cheese and chocolate dip.

I have visited the restaurant on other occasions for dinner but this was my first for happy hour. My friends and I sidled up to the bar (we often prefer to sit at the bar versus at tables as this offers better access to the bartender for insider knowledge). The bartender of the evening, Bobby, was very attentive and enthusiastic. We couldn’t decide on a wine to have so he let us sample several before we made our selection. We really liked this!

They have a vast selection of their wines for $5 during happy hour, as well as beer and liquor specials. An interesting tidbit about their liquor selection, their well offerings are higher end than most places. So for their vodka, they offer Smirnoff as the well instead of something like Kamchatka.

They have a special food menu set up for happy hour also. It includes a couple of fondue options perfect for sharing with someone, as well as salads, shrimp, and dips most priced at $5! We enjoyed the Baked Brie with Pesto, Honey and Almond Baked Brie, and the Spinach Artichoke Dip. Everything was fantastic and nicely presented. The brie was served with bread and chips; the chips seemed like an unlikely pairing but actually worked. The spinach and artichoke dip was a more than ample portion of creamy goodness.

A note of mention, happy hour is only available in the bar area. This should not pose a problem, however, as there is ample seating in the bar. The restaurant also has an outdoor patio, as well as several booths throughout- some are very intimate 2-top tables tucked away behind curtains. There were only a few groups in the bar on our visit, but on a trip through the restaurant I noticed most of the tables full....and it wasn’t even a weekend evening.

The owner of the restaurant made his way around the establishment while patrons dined, personalizing each persons visit. This was nice to see as it is a rare occurrence to visit with the owner anymore. This seems to be an area that several restaurants lack but I believe it to be key in keeping diners returning. Every diner wants to feel special and that extra step does just that.

Bobby the bartender actually gets big kudos from us. A few days after our visit to Melting Pot, he spotted us downtown and said hello! Nice work remembering us! We will definitely return to the Melting Pot for happy hour and hopefully it is on a night Bobby is working!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Dutch Goose

3515 W State Street

Time: 4-6 M-F
Special: $1.50 domestics and $2.50 micros
Rating: 4 martinis
Smoking: outside
Other mentions: outside seating with misters on hot days, horseshoe pits, other daily specials: Tuesday- 2 for 1 burgers, Wednesday $3 32 oz. tubs from 6-11pm and free peanuts, Thursday $1 all drafts from 8-11pm

The Goose isn’t a fancy place but it is friendly and fun. It offers up a variety of entertainment sure to please everyone in your group with pool tables, video games, televisions, horseshoe pits, and plenty of seating for socializing.

The atmosphere is casual with a no frills approach and ordering is done at the counter. What you get in return is low prices on a great beer selection and tasty food that also comes with a great price tag. The counter service was also fantastic. While I didn’t catch the name of the bartender/cook/server of the day, she was entertaining, nice, and quick!

My most recent visit was on a Tuesday so my friend and I took advantage of the 2 for 1 burgers. They were generous in size as well as flavor. For a Tuesday afternoon/early evening, the place was packed. Seems that many already know about this little gem and they ranged from a softball team to a table in suits, and everything in between.

We left happy, full, and no longer thirsty. We will definitely return to the Goose!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Parrilla Grill

1512 N 13th Street

Time: M-F 4-6:30
Special: $2.50 domestics, $2.50 wells, $3.50 micros, and $1 off pitchers
Rating: 3 martinis
Smoking: no
Other mentions: Full Bar, seating outside, daily specials

Technically I didn’t make it during happy hour but Parilla Grill does have daily specials. I went on a Thursday for the $1 taco special. That is right! $1 tacos all day Thursday! I could choose from steak, pork, chicken, or veggie on either corn or flour tortillas. I opted for one chicken on flour and one veggie on corn. I had them throw on some corn salsa and pico de gallo and I was set! My friend and I headed outdoors to their lovely patio, sat at the bar, and ordered up some cold beverage. Thursday also happens to be $1 off all drafts.

The restaurant was busy for mid-day Thursday. People rode up on bikes, some had dogs, and some were punching away on computers. Parilla Grill draws a diverse crowd with its tasty and affordable offerings. The tacos were yummy and healthy. The beer selection was simple yet provided an option for everyone. The location in Hyde Park is perfect for those wanting to get out of downtown but not too far out or those just getting back from the foothills.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Joe's Crab Shack
2288 N Garden Street

Time: M-F 3-7
Special: $1.25 domestics, $2 wells, and $3 frozen margaritas and well martinis
Rating: 4 martinis
Smoking: outside
Other mentions: Full Bar, seating outside, on the greenbelt

A friend and I were attending a play reading in Garden City this evening but wanted to get together prior for a beverage and snack. I suggested Joe’s Crab Shack for its proximity to our final destination as well as its location off the Boise Greenbelt. We were able to park our bicycles right on the greenbelt next to our table! The only better thing would for them to have an actual bike rack placed off the greenbelt for high traffic times.

We were greeted by Kat who told us the happy hour specials and how Joe’s works. The specials include $1.25 domestics, $2 wells, and $3 frozen margaritas and well martinis and sometimes appletinis and cosmos are included. Unfortunately, they do not offer any food specials but we decided to order the crab nachos anyway.

The drinks were refreshing, the nachos good, and the service excellent. Mid-way through our experience, Kat hands us a couple of hats and informs us we would be dancing to YMCA with them on the greenbelt. Without question my friend and I were singing and dancing for the restaurant. As much as I dislike the YMCA song, it was fun….or maybe it was just the strong cocktails!

We had a fun time at Joe’s and the nachos kept us full all night! No late night snacking needed.