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Restaurants & Bars

Native Lounge- SLO

paso_gurl_100 | Mar 6, 2008 01:56 PM

The spousal unit and I checked out happy hour last night at Native Lounge at what was formerly Mission Grill, which was a popular place, but was in need of a make-over. You would not recognize the new place. It has been COMPLETELY updated. There is a beautiful water wall when you walk in and the seating is mostly comfy sofas and ottomans. The lighting is pretty unique as well, nothing like Mission Grill. My favorite is the pink glass tile beneath the bar.

We were pleasantly surprised to find out that they are doing wine tasting with a featured winery every Wednesday. We got to be the "first ever" tasters there. The winery was Hug Cellars from lovely Paso Robles (near Garretson). The assistant winemaker, Edgar Torres was pouring viognier, 2005 pinot and 2005 syrah. For $10 you got to taste as much as you wanted and a little plate of pairing items, the presentation of which was well thought out. We got 3 small portions of a smoky hard cheese (don't remember what it was, sorry), a gorgonzola and a nice cheddar, a blackberry, a dab of honeycomb, a slice of grilled baguette and a cluster of grapes. It was a nice little way to start off happy hour.

Their happy hour menu rocks! The focus seemed to be on quality rather than quantity. The selections are broken up by price from an order of parmesan fries for $3 (very good nice sized portion, but could use a dipping sauce) to a half dozen oysters for $6. Yes, you read that correctly $1 an oyster! And they were spectacular! 2 blue points, 2 kumomotos and 2 others that I had never tried before that were the best. They were kinda salty and the shells were small and deep. They had a Japanese name as well. They were served with 3 different sauces on the side. I really wanted to get another order, but we got the scallop trio ($6) instead. Three skewers with a huge sea scallop (cut in half) prepared a different way (seared, tempura and raw- ceviche style) on each one. From the $4 menu, we had the meatloaf sliders (little burgers, not oysters :- ) even those little guys were unique. Served on a little bun of pate choix (like a cream puff) with grainy mustard, lettuce and tomato on the side. They paired well with the 2004 Tolosa pinot. Spousal tried a Cabernet from Chile, Root 1, also very good, an earthy nose, no oak to speak of and a nice mellow finish. For dessert, I had a blueberry margarita ($6), made w/Cazadores and fresh blueberries. Happy hour runs from 4 to 7 not sure what days though.

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