Sunday, July 5, 2009

I ate at Poppy...

From N.

I've been interested in Poppy since it opened, but heard it was spendy and wasn't ready for another lecture from But when I read about the crazy cheap $5 happy hour, I had no more excuses to stay away.

I wasn't expecting an Ikea-ed out orange and blond wood interior. It's really cute in that Scandinavian way, but sort of a funny choice for a high-end restaurant. Perhaps it's intended to make it feel more casual, and I loved the pops of bright orange, but I prefer the natural, elegant style of Spur or Anchovies & Olives.

I can't say much about the restaurant as a whole since I was there for happy hour, but HH appeared to reflect a regular meal. Food is typically served as a thali, a platter that has several small dishes. For happy hour, you get four dishes plus naan for $5. I can't think of a better deal, except free, and cocktails also clocked in at $5.

My six twenty-two drink with rye whiskey and rhubarb and agnostura bitters and another liqueur was pleasant, but not memorable. A Pimm's Cup and Turkish Delight also were on the cocktail menu.

The thali is a beautiful way to present food, and this Thursday creation included a sumptuous tiny slice of onion, pancetta, oregon blue and walnut tart that had a lovely balance of rich and sweet. An oregano aioli livened up mussels, while a cauliflower mashed with sesame was a moist accompaniment to the naan. There also was a puffy rice, dried fruit and macadamia mixture referred to as spice crispies. The dish was probably the closest thing I've encountered to a snack vividly described in a Jhumpa Lahiri short story about a character who mixes Rice Crispies with peanuts and spices to mimic an Indian treat. A roasted beet salad with albacore tuna, green olives and lemon basil was nicely done, but didn't make much of an impression.

There's a definite Indian tang to the dishes, particularly the spice crispies, and I was less than in love. I adore Indian food but somehow adding Indian spices and accents to new American dishes didn't quite work for me. Others disagree. I could be lured back for happy hour, but for a full meal, especially with a regular thali priced at $32, it's more likely I'll be ensconced at the bar at Spur.

Poppy on Urbanspoon

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