Step it Up

also known as happy hour at Siam Society

I never wanted to be one of those people who only wrote negative things about restaurants so let me begin by saying there are Portland restaurants that I love and those I tolerate and those I know have mediocre at best food but I eat there because it is convenient or quick or because I’m a little drunk.  Maybe I’ve become a little spoiled after living years in Portland where for $3 there  are a lot of places where I can get a good quality burger and fries during happy hour not to mention jambalaya, fish tacos, dollar beers and cheep pizzas.  That is the point of happy hour; something should be cheep and plentiful so that for a little money you can role home full and a little tipsy.

All this brings me to happy hour at Siam Society

We went early on a Sunday evening.  The bar was empty and the service was prompt.  The drink menu was interesting but happy hour only applied to well so my first cocktail ran a whopping $9 and my second was another $7.  My friend has suggested the place and said she wanted something healthy only there wasn’t anything like that on the happy hour menu.  Nothing special or grand and everything seemed somehow too expensive.  I thought about going for my old standby pot stickers but I couldn’t bear to pay $4.95 for just four.  I went for the steak burger, $6.95 plus a dollar more for cheese.  The burger comes a la carte so I added cheese and herb fries for $3 more.  My companion gave up on the diet and joined me.  Considering the grill time for a burger cooked to medium it took a bizarrely long time to get our plates.  When the plates arrived I saw that $3 worth of fries was barley a 1/2 cup but the burger seemed alright to look at and at its side, in addition to the traditional tomato, onion and lettuce, was a nice mound of sliced jalapenos.  The ciabatta but was completely unobjectionable and the burger itself was soft and juicy with a delicious hint of Thai spices.  I would have appreciated knowing about those spice because I might have skipped the Gorgonzola, the only cheese option, which was a miss if the aim was seamless fusion.

Here’s the thing.  I don’t mind paying if the food is worth it.  When Couvron was still in Goose Hollow I saved budgeted to I could take my and a friend out for dinner and pay for the $75 prix fixe menu with the $55 dollar wine tasting for both of us.  But this is happy hour, its meant to be affordable.  Sure the burger was good but it wasn’t great and for the almost $11 it cost I could of had a great burger any number of places off a dinner menu.  When I added in a six dollar scoop of ice cream it was a $33 dollar meal before tip.  I could have forgiven the price if anything but the cardamon ice cream had seemed interesting, super tasty or special, but nothing was.

this is my message to Portland.  We live in a great food city and you can’t just rest on your laurels of previous fame or a good reputation ’cause there is a guy with a food cart who can do what you do and he would love a chance to take your place.


~ by whatsheeats on December 13, 2010.

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