To kick off a new tradition (as well as this blog), we headed to RN74 for our first happy hour of 2013. RN74 was an easy pick, as it is one of many acclaimed restaurants of James Beard Award winning chef Michael Mina, and also happens to be the restaurant that top chef judge Tom Colicchio allegedly ate at nearly every day while in town to film Top Chef Seattle. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.
Happy hour at RN74 runs from 3 pm through 6 pm Monday through Saturday, and even though we arrived at 5:30, there was still ample time to order from the HH menu. The lounge area was pretty packed, so it’s good to come early, if possible. We mingled at the bar for a bit but did eventually score a cushy spot on a fanciful large leather sofa.
The HH drink menu wasn’t extensive by any stretch of the imagination, but everyone was happy, especially those who opted for the house red. The HH food menu is also not very large, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up in quality. The star of the night was the gougeres, which were without a doubt the best gougeres I’ve ever eaten. They were golden brown on the outside and gooey and warm on the inside, and just melted in my mouth. The black truffle popcorn was also popular, though a few of our friends found it to be slightly soggy, weighed down with butter. The smoked salmon deviled eggs were perfectly executed and came with a refreshing light salad, making them the most filling and entree-like dish of all the HH bites we sampled. The only dish that slightly missed the mark were the ahi tuna poppers: One friend felt that the rice cake needed more seasoning, while another thought the dish as a whole would have benefited from a little more kick. It did, after all, mention Sriracha aioli in the description.
One thing to note: As of this posting, the online menu wasn’t updated. So if you go in with your heart set on a lamb meatball or fried cheese curds, just know that it might not be on the most updated happy hour menu.
To me a happy hour is successful if it entices me to linger after the happy hour specials cease being served, and RN74 didn’t disappoint. We all ordered a couple more bites at full (non happy hour) price after 6, and I ordered a delicious take on a Pim’s Cup off the regular cocktail menu. The drink itself was so darn delicious that I might opt for happy hour bites and non-happy hour drinks, next time I visit RN74 after work.