Friday, April 7, 2017

Portland Happy Hour: SuperBite

What: SuperBite
Where: 527 SW 12th Ave 
When: Daily HH from 5-6pm (also available at Kask 4-6pm)

Katie and I are super proud of ourselves when we actually make it to a happy hour these days. This is partially because we rarely have weeknight dates (thanks, dogs and husbands) and partially because we never make it anywhere early enough for happy hour (looking at you, semi-demanding work schedules). So when we finally scheduled a SuperBite happy hour date, we had to make the most of it.


Our dining experience at SuperBite started with a bit of seat-selection anxiety. Katie arrived 10 minutes before me and played musical chairs, ultimately ending up choosing a seat in the bar. Moments after I arrived and sat down, Karen Brooks, Portland Monthly's food critic, walked in and sat at the well-lit kitchen bar in the main dining area, highlighting what Katie already knew to be true: she had made the wrong seating decision. Basically, we missed out on any potential hobnobbing and the lighting was terrible for photos, but we'll forgive Katie, it's a lot of pressure!

Anyway, regardless of seating choices, we unfortunately left SuperBite underwhelmed.

Our expectations were high going in because 1) this is the second venture for the husband-wife chef team behind the impressive Ox and 2) if your whole restaurant concept is built on combining unique or seemingly separate flavors into one "super bite", that one bite better be fucking phenomenal.

When we finally were able to track down a server (we know we're not Karen Brooks but come on!), we asked for his top happy hour recommendations and he tricked us into buying all of the bites, which were $2 each. The bites are really the right size for one person but we opted to share all but the salmon. Also, he didn't really trick us, we're actually very easily convinced to order lots of food...

The Salmon Crudo is served with hibiscus ponzu, pickled jalapeno, and shiso, and was a pretty solid bite - I suppose at $2, it's similar to getting a piece of sashimi at a sushi restaurant.


Both of us really enjoyed the Dungeness Crab taco with celery root tortilla, sesame mayo, orange, and tobiko. The celery root tortilla provided a unique texture and the bite featured a solid serving of crab.

I think we were originally most intrigued by the Grilled Shitake with miso-procini marshmallow and sauternes glaze, but the porcini marshmallow didn't quite live up to the hype and was fairly indistinguishable.

Next up was the Beef Tongue "spam" musubi with cucumber, and Chinese hot mustard served on top of rice. This was one of our server's favorites and I could imagine it being one that people lean towards since it is a bit more substantial.


Finally, we tried the Duck Croquette A L'Orange with crispy duck rillettes and tangerine aioli. Neither of us had tried duck l'orange prior and while it was good, again we wanted to be wowed and didn't quite get there.

As I write this, I'm wondering if our expectations were unreasonable or if the experience really was missing a little something something.

To round out our happy hour, we also ordered the Nashville-style Hot Fried Cauliflower which was super spicy and a dish I probably would skip next time around (if there is a next time around...).


Last up, we had the Double Stack Cheeseburger ($10) with ground beef and shitake mushroom topped with fontina and cheddar, fancy sauce, dill pickle, and onion on a sesame seed bun. It sounds like a good idea and a ton of burger for $10 so we jumped on it. I would actually like to get Doug and Adam's take on this burger because Katie and I were not digging the texture that the mushroom added.


The real topper on the iffy service and underwhelming food is that we both felt nauseous for the rest of the night. Not the best way to remember what should have been an enjoyable happy hour.

Basically, we're not raring to try this happy hour again anytime soon - but we are curious to know if our experience was the norm, or if we caught SuperBite on an off night. Let us know!

No comments: