Thursday, April 29, 2010


From the moment I stepped off Eastlake Ave and through the door at Ravish I was in a better mood. It probably helped that I was there on a rare gorgeous spring afternoon, but I suspect that the brightly painted green mismatched chairs with their orange and red patterned seats and complementary-hued glassybabies would be cheery on the dreariest of days. The flat gray tables, railing separating the bar from the restaurant and the bar itself contrast nicely with all of this brightness, and the sparkly, jangly chandeliers and fixtures over the bar are happily whimsical. I mean really -- how could you be in bad mood in such a place?

Happy hour at Ravish is a hit for me -- so much so that I returned within a week, in fact. I willingly admit that I’m a creature of habit, and in the realm of cocktails I typically (lately) default to a gin martini or sometimes a Manhattan. The fine folks at Ravish offer a happy hour cocktail of the day, though, which I quite enjoyed on both occasions, especially the Dark & Stormy on my second visit.

I’m lucky to have good friends who are willing to try lots of different things, let me eat off their plates and allow me to embarrass them with frequent photos of said plates. Thus it only took a couple of trips to Ravish to try a fair number of the happy hour food offerings, all quite reasonably priced. One of my favorites of the bunch was a more sophisticated version of pigs in a blanket. It was likely due in large part to my weakness for puff pastry, but I loved ‘em. The salad with grapes, apples and cinnamon’d pecans was lovely, as was the maple ham, apple and French brie panini.

We had the artisan spreads trio on both occasions, probably because it’s such a crowd-pleaser basket of breads and crackers served with three delicious spreads: tapenade, goat cheese and the last a combination of red pepper, sundried tomatoes and pine nuts. Another item that made a second appearance because I insisted on it until my friend caved and then was glad she did were the flank steak satay skewers. Tender, perfectly-cooked cubes of beef paired with a slightly sweet sauce. Fantastic!

After looking at the non-happy hour menu, two items I can’t wait to try: Cajun meatloaf sliders with caramelized onions and spicy ketchup on a brioche bun and pancetta three cheese mac and cheese with rosemary cheddar, parmesan and blue cheese topped with breadcrumbs and a truffle oil drizzle.

I’ve long been a fan of Ravish’s parent company, caterer Ravishing Radish, and how exciting that now we have another avenue via which to sample their excellent food. I also noted that their space is available for private parties, and of course I immediately added Ravish to my list of private event spaces, a select few of which you can find here. Now, what sunny, happy event can I bring to this great little space?

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