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Happy Hour Deals

Soul in the Bowl


In the pantheon of home cooks, there's none more superior than grandma. Just make sure your mom’s not around to hear you say it.

But that rule doesn’t scale at Ben Bui's Fish Sauce, where Bui's mother, Lauren Huynh, runs the line (and in effect, the kitchen's show), turning out plate after plate of the same dishes she used to prepare for Ben at home when he was just a little boy.

“It’s mommy food,” Bui says. And there’s lots of it to try, but the one thing that’ll keep you coming back is Huynh’s phở.

While there’s lots to love about phở—Fish Sauce’s comes in beef, chicken and veggie flavors—the soul in the bowl belongs to the broth. And Huynh’s homemade broth is the kind of comforting thing that can right all your wrongs.

Each week, she fills three industrial sized pots with water and beef shanks, seasons those with star anise, coriander, fennel and clove, and and then simmers those pots for a full day until she’s got enough broth to last the week.*

If you’re dining in, you’ll enjoy the space. It’s spare and full of clean modern lines, and for a room with a 20-person family-style table and an open kitchen, it’s surprisingly intimate, too.

Plus, the best part of are those first few slurps is the savory smell of the steam that mists off your soup's surface.

There’s nothing that quite beats a homemade soup, and this one might even trump your own grandma’s.

But don’t worry. Ain't no one telling.

Fish Sauce, 407 NW 17th Ave., 503.227.8000

* Sorry, vegetarians and vegans: there have been heroic efforts made to pull off a tasty veggie stock, but Bui decided that none of their experimental broths could match a good old-fashioned beef stock.

Imperial's Tap Vieux Carré

vieux carre.jpg

I've written about barman Brandon Wise's tap Vieux Carré plenty of times—twice for MIX Magazine (RIP MIX!), and once for Neighborhood Notes. As I've written in the past, it's Wise's favorite classic cocktail—he's used Vieux Carré shots to boilermake pints of beer and he's even used shots to flavor snow cones)—and because of him (he's the one who finally hipped me to it), it's mine too.

In fact, I try to turn as many people on to it as I can—not just because of the way it tastes, or because of how easy it is to drink (think: candied whiskey)—but because it's easily one of the best deals in town.

While a standard mixer or a draft pint of craft beer can easily run you $6 (to say nothing of craft cocktails that can often run north of $10), Wise's Vieux Carré will cost you just $7—and, because it's mixed in large batches and argon-gassed from a korny keg (which keeps prep time down), it costs just $5 during Imperial's two daily happy hours.

If you head out for one (or two)—and trust me, you should—keep in mind that this is a drink that'll sneak up on you.

Besides the lemon twist and the large hand-carved ice cube, the Vieux Carré’s all spirits (rye, cognac, Benedictine, Italian vermouth and splashes of Angostura and Peychaud's bitters).

But that ice plays its part—about five minutes after your cocktail's been poured, it melts, glacially, providing your Vieux Carré with what Wise calls a "sweet spot" in which each spirit's many notes harmoniously blend themselves together into the same proper key.

Imperial, 400 SW Broadway St., 503.228.7222