To my American friends: Happy 4th of July folks!
Last week, a friend of mine from Boston was in town for a conference and we got a chance to meet up for girl chat and life catch up. It was around lunch time when I picked her up and I was frantically looking for a place with great drinks and food since I am not too familiar yet with what my new city has to offer. I called my husband and he suggested the Happiest Hour, a bar and lounge he visited for drinks with friends in the past. I was relieved that he suggested that place because not only was it close to where we were, it also meant that my friend and I can both try something new.
When we walked up to the Happiest Hour, we could see this large outdoor patio with high ceilings and plenty of air coming in. Although it had fans blowing light spritzes of water, It was just to too hot in Dallas for us to even try it and air condition was all we wanted to feel at that moment. We walked inside and was kindly greeted by the hostess and escorted to our table.
The inside was huge and had this polished grunge feel from the garage doors opening up to the patio to the under counter lighting at the bar.
The place was nice and spacious and, with only a handful of people inside at the time we came, it gave us enough room around us to have deep, private chats without worrying about anyone ear hustling nearby.
What I liked about this place was that they had a good size menu, which is great for someone like me who can be really indecisive at times, especially when it comes to food. Our waiter was a nice gentleman and was honest about telling us customer feedback on certain dishes. So let’s jump straight into the breakdown of my experience here.
Let’s talk about the drinks first. Unlike their food menu, their drinks menu had a lot to choose from and even creations I haven’t heard of. I ordered a glass of Prosecco, while my friend tried the Mexican Mule. The drinks came out quick. My Prosecco was nice and my friend really loved her Mexican Mule as it was a twist on traditional Moscow Mule because it was made with tequila. My glass of Prosecco had a decent amount poured into a champagne flute, while my friend’s drink came in a cute mini tin bucket with a handle (wish I took a picture of it because it was adorable). Both drinks were refreshing and went very well with our meals and speaking of meals….
My friend and I started with the Fried Calamari appetizer. It came out quick and boy, was that thang a beauty! The batter was light and you can literally envision the crunch sound it would make with every bite from looking at it. It was cooked to perfection and topped off with a sweet soy ginger sauce and garnished with sliced green onions (or scallions). This was literally the best calamari we both ever had! It wasn’t too chewy or rubbery like some calamari fails I have had in the past. My teeth was able to bite through it with each bite. My goodness it was so yummy and these pictures are only making my mouth water more.
Later, our entrees came out. I ordered the Guinness Braised Short Rib with Green Chili Mac N’ Cheese and my friend had the Seared Salmon with quinoa, zucchini, tomato, black garlic vinaigrette, and baby spinach (unfortunately, my food was too yummy so I didn’t get a picture in of her dish). *Clapping between each syllable* Let me tell you: That short rib was nothing short of amazing! It had a smokey almost-barbecue-like taste and pulled off so easy. Don’t worry about having to taste the Guinness if you are not a fan because that was not the case at all. If anything the Guinness added to that smokey-barbecue taste and tenderness of the meat. The mac n’ cheese was creamy but not soupy as the sauce lightly coated the jumbo pieces of macaroni. Although it was said to be made with green chilis, I could hardly taste any spice in it. However, it complimented each bite of that short rib for me. If you can imagine, I was so content about life in that moment.
My friend was also a happy camper and devoured her salmon as I devoured my meal as though our last meals were ages ago. Trust me, you will see what I mean once you give it a try.
Back For A Second Visit
This time I went with my husband. I raved about the food here to him because although my husband suggested this place, he only ever had the drinks. When we came across a 4th of July promotional flyer from Happiest Hour in an elevator yesterday, I knew it was meant to be that we make another visit. On the 3rd and 4th of July, The Happiest Hour will offer one entree, two sides and a dessert for $17.76 (Get it? 1776?) so it was only right to check out if my beloved short rib was included with this offer.
Unfortunately, when my husband and I got there, they had already taken the short rib off the menu along with a couple of other menu options. Due to a concert that would be held in the area that evening, they anticipated a large crowd and had to pause on making dishes that took awhile to make, like my short rib. It was a bummer and because I had my eye and tummy set on it, I wasn’t really feeling the items offered for their 4th of July promotion. It’s not as if the items didn’t look great when the waiters were serving them (because they did) to other guests but my mind was already made up.
We at least ordered the Fried Calamari appetizer as my husband is also a calamari connoisseur like myself and would appreciate this dish. We also took advantage of their $5 happy hour selected drink menu and each ordered a Frozé, which tasted like a frozen, sweet moscato with a strawberry garnish. We both enjoyed the calamari (although my husband hated the fact that the sauce contained soy since he tends to steer clear of that ingredient) and our refreshing drinks and honestly I became okay with the short rib not being available because it turned out we weren’t as famished as we thought.
Overall, both experiences were enjoyable. The customer service and timeliness of the food being ordered and brought to our table was excellent. Both times, the place had great vibes and was a relaxing environment even when there were more people the second time around. The pricing was decent, leaning a tad bit towards pricy but very much worth it for me. I really wish I got a chance to check out the restrooms to provide you with the details on that because bathroom upkeep is important but I will be back and will be sure to provide an update.
I would highly recommend anyone in the Dallas area to visit Happiest Hour (especially today for their 4th of July promotion) and experience it for yourself, including the menu items previously mentioned. I am sure it will provide all the elements you need to have a good time.
Until then, enjoy your 4th of July and be safe out there!