Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails: Happy Hour Report Card
The Spot: Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, Palomar Hotel, CityScape, 2 E. Jefferson St, Phoenix, 602-258-0231, www.bluehoundkitchen.com.
The Hours: Happy Hour is offered 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Interior: With its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the office buildings along Central Avenue, Blue Hound offers the kind of big city environment we don't see much of in this big city. I love the towering back bar, the neutral color scheme and exposed brick, the mirrors -- hung on a downward slant and trimmed in weathered wood -- the metal accents (which add an industrial element without making the room feel cold), the funky dog art and most of all, the sexy view, which roots me in Phoenix but feels so much hipper than my familiar hometown.
The Food: Chef Stephen Jones doesn't throw his heart into happy hour deals, and I'm guessing that's by design. This is a cool, classy hotel restaurant and bar, geared toward young urban professionals and business travelers, not coupon clippers looking for dinner on a shoestring.
Happy hour's only food offering is $12 flatbreads dropped to half-price. But the bar menu features a half dozen gourmet-ish snacks priced at $5-$6, more if you order them in a larger size. Although I'm mildly curious about caramel popcorn with ancho chile (called butterscotch in the description, so which is it?), I'm not curious enough to try it ($5). Who wants caramel corn with a cocktail or a glass of wine? Well, not me anyway.
Deviled eggs are everywhere these days, but that's okay. They make an easy-to-eat, crowd-pleasing bar snack. Here, the yolks are bolstered with brioche and studded with bits of smoked ham. The amount of Dijon (heavy this visit) seems to vary day-to-day. Piped and herb-strewn, they're definitely pretty, but three for $6? Or two bucks per egg half? Absurdity.