Monday, July 20, 2009

Blue Monk

3341 SE Belmont
Happy Hour: 5 - 7 (8 in the basement)
and ALL DAY Sunday


There are certain things that I'm convinced are only done (or only done well, that is) in Portland. Perhaps there's a little bias in what I say. Perhaps it's because I haven't lived anywhere other than Portland in my adult life. Traveling, though--and even more so when I am entertaining a friend from out of the area who is enamored by what our little city has to offer--has led me to believe that Portland is special.

Happy Hour is one of those things that Portland does well. Really well. And, I am always pleased when I don't even make plans for eating cheaply and then just stumble (not literally) upon some great food deals. That's exactly what happened at the Blue Monk on Sunday. I had no idea that they offered happy hour all day on Sundays. I had only been there once before and never for dinner. I was so impressed and knew that--even though it wasn't one of our planned happy hour excursions--it needed to be included here.

The food menu isn't marked down to as little as three dollars like some places but when you combine a discount on food with a discount on drinks, it lends to a very good deal. I started by ordering a Ruby off of the cocktail menu. It was marked down to just $4.50 and were perfect. Vodka, Chambord, cranberry and lemon juice shaken and served in a martini glass with a powder sugar rim. My memory may not be perfect, but I feel that this might have been my first experience with a rim coating in powdered sugar. The look and the taste were great...but, I am very much a texture person and I missed those tiny granules. Sad, I know. It's not going to keep me from returning, though.


For dinner, I ordered the Parmesan Polenta priced at only $5.50. I am so not an expert when it comes to Polenta. I've only ordered it once before. When it was brought out from the kitchen, I was a little worried by it's appearance that it would be without much flavor at all. Two yellow triangles sat atop a pile of what looked like any basic chunky red sauce. I. Was. Wrong. They were perfect. The texture was impressive. The melted mozzarella complemented the flavors. And, that sauce was far more than what it appeared to be. It was full of sliced green olives, chunks of eggplant and the perfect amount of tomatoes. Obviously, I was pleased. And, a little surprised.


The only thing that I missed about this happy hour experience was the outdoor seating. But, if we had known about the prices and had planned on an early arrival like all the other places, it would have worked out. The surprise was nice. I loved the price and the food. Service, too. All around, I know that this is a place to which I will return.

Food: Exceeds
Drink: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets

-b

Blue Monk

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