December 22, 2009

Small Bites at the Front Room

There were so many things to celebrate last night that I called my friend Dawn of Appetite Portland to meet me at The Front Room. Since I now live up on Munjoy Hill, I got right to work exploring my new neighborhood bar. And what a neighborhood hangout it is. I was surprised to see a full house at 6:30 on a Monday night. I eked out a seat at the bar and put away several drinks with Dawn before we turned our attention to the menu.

It seems Dawn is working on eating her way through the mussels dishes of Portland (stay turned for a top 10 list!), so we started with the mussels. They are cooked in garlic, wine, tomato broth, and herbs for $10.

And while they were good, they were nothing special. But we ate them all and were happy to have some good flat focaccia type bread for sopping up the sauce.

We both had a salad, I had the Caesar ($6) and Dawn had the Spinach ($6).

I had it in my head that the great grilled Caesar I'd had at 555 was served over at Smith's other 'Room,' the Grill Room. Fortunately I corrected myself, because I would have been very disappointed if I'd been served this salad when I was expecting that delicious 555 Caesar. So this salad was OK, a lot better that some of the offensive version of Caesar salad I've had. The salad is marked with an asterisk on the menu that warns you of the dangers of salmonella or something, so I took that as a good sign that the kitchen makes a real Caesar dressing. But again, didn't make my top 10.

For dessert, we had the special Grapefruit Martini ($8) which was Absolut Ruby Red, pomegranate seeds, and Champagne (or some sparkling wine). And we loved them, because they weren't too sweet- no Cosmo girls here!

So while the small sampling of food I had didn't blow me away, I hear brunch is their forte. I did, however, love the bar. They had a TV, but not on too loud (there was a small whimper from me when they briefly changed it from Monday Night Football to the Food Network), there's great people watching (from the guy with the watch chain in his vest to the locals drinking PBR Pounders and shots of Jack), and the beers are moderately priced. They also have great happy hour specials from 4-6pm.