Leonard Anderson, who did time as the chef at W.A. Frost and the now defunct Hanger Room in Willernie, has jumped into ownership with this place. He and his partners rehabbed the old building, painting the front a friendly yellow, while creating a warm, inviting space inside. You walk into the bar with some tall tables on the side and cafe seating up front. The back bar is decked with a mis-matched collection of framed mirrors. The main dining area elbows to the left and is quaint and cozy. There's defintiely a home-spun feel to the small place, which is humble and seems to fit with the neighborhood. So far, I'm liking the reverence for the laid-back East Side nature.
The shiny words put out by these guys include a lot of stuff about using only humanely rasied animal products, which is lovely, but after that what's it about? How about small tastes? This week they just debuted a happy hour with a menu full of small bites. You can test drive small versions of their cocktail list for $2 a pop. The Cross Eyed Mary is a spicy little Bloody Mary infused gin drink, the Mother of Dragons another herater with jalapeno infused Jim Beam. I like that you can guage these oddities before commiting to a whole cocktails (which is broken out on the menu in taste categories: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, umami even. The list also has a lot of bottle beers, also broken out by flavor, and wine. I didn't try one of the chelada beers, but they look fun.
You can order a round of little tasters plates from the menu for $2 as well, and you can do this any time, not just for happy hour. Fries were solid, a miniscule bite of burnt feta on minted pea puree was just awesome, as was a bite of roasted pork belly. A tiny crock of salmon crudo contained at least three cured bites layered together and topped playfully with popcorn. The beef tartare was served with house chips on a pink salt block, so be warnd it gets saltier the longer it sits. I only tried the egg sandwich from the bigger plates, and it was perfectly runny on a good pretzle roll. But I like the look of some of the other plates passing by, and I'm very interested in the 7 course tasting menu. Plates here seem to have the right amount of cheffy touch while remaining humble in the eyes of the eater.
Neighborhood people kept pouring in and I chatted with a few on the way out, convinced them to get the tartare next time. The couple liked coming in for a lighter bite with their drinks, which I think bodes well for the place.