Thursday, August 11, 2011

Chart House

5700 SW Terwilliger Blvd
Happy Hour: 4 - 7 PM

I moved into a new neighborhood at the start of the month, and with it came new restaurants, new running routes, and new routines. Getting settled into the new routines isn't easy since I'm still technically on summer break (although I did spend a couple of hours working in my classroom earlier this week). It'll get easier once I'm back to work again at the start of the school year. And finding the new running routes has proven to be easy since there are paths and trails and sporadically placed public drinking fountains throughout. (Running on the new routes isn't so easy since I moved from the flat surface streets of NE Portland to the oh-so-steep hills of SW.) The new restaurants are what have me most excited...because new restaurants mean new happy hour opportunities. (And I found my first one while running in the neighborhood just yesterday.)


The Chart House is located on Terwilliger Boulevard and has the most beautiful view of Portland. Because of this view, the restaurant's walls are almost nothing but windows. The best views come from the seats closest to the windows on the main dining floor, but the comfortable seating in the bar downstairs comes with a similar sight and discounts on food and drinks during happy hour.


We got there around five--an hour into happy hour--and didn't have any problem getting a seat. We probably had better luck being that it was a Wednesday...so I would suggest getting there earlier if you are hoping for a window seat (especially if entertaining someone from out of town).


My co-blogger would have loved the layout of their menu (both for food and drinks) because of its tiered pricing. Food items were available for 4, 5, or 6 dollars. They had three options at each level and plenty of them were meat-free (making me happy). Drink prices also range from four dollars (for well drinks and select beer) to six (for signature cocktails) with wine and a few mixed drinks in the middle at five dollars each.


I started with a Chart House Cosmopolitan and my boyfriend had a Vodka Gimlet. The Gimlet qualified as a well drink, making it a great value. It, however, was made with Rose's sweetened lime juice instead of fresh lime and sugar. I prefer what the fresh lime has to offer in flavor versus the neon qualities of the version made with Rose's.


We ordered the spinach artichoke dip to share and each picked one other item. The dip was warmed prior to serving, had a topping of breadcrumbs (something that I'm not accustomed to but enjoyed), and came with crostini for dipping. I think I would have preferred the saltiness of tortilla chips with this dip, but this was a bit classier, I suppose (and we were at a classy place).


After sharing one plate, I had the brushetta (which meant more crostini) and my boyfriend had the fish tacos. The brushetta was topped with diced tomatoes, fresh herbs, and Parmesan cheese before being broiled to just the right point (crispy but not too hard to bite into and cheese that was melted enough but not to the point where it bubbles and becomes all chewy).


The fish tacos were a hit. They came two to a plate and were made with seared fish rather than fried. And they were topped with just enough cabbage so that it had good crunch without becoming too much like a salad. (I have a feeling that we'll go back again...partly because it's so close and partly because the fish tacos were so good.)


And when we are back again, I need to remember to order another Tuaca Lemon Drop. It was perfectly balanced in flavor. Yum. A little sticky, though, due to its sugared rim.

Service was good, too. It started with free valet parking (not because there aren't plenty of spots right there...just because it's a tight fit and they want to get in as many cars as possible). The hostess on the main level of the restaurant was ready to walk us down to the bar rather than just pointing the way. And the bartender worked wonders as he quickly mixed up drinks and was out to take our order (or take our plates away) with a smile every time.

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

-b


Chart House

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