After a week off, I’m back reviewing more fabulous happy hours with my next stop over the bridge at Lot No. 3 in Bellevue. A very modern & contemporary restaurant who prides themselves on classic cocktails, comfort food and craft beers. While there, someone best described Lot No. 3 as a mix of sweet and salty, as most of their menu items hit both on your palate (candied bacon, PB & J sliders with bacon, sweet onion dip, duck confit slider with golden raisins, and that’s just happy hour!). Finally, someone put in to words why I love Lot No. 3 so much!
While beer & bourbon are staples at Lot No. 3, I chose to focus on the things that don’t come straight from a bottle. Cocktails and food were the highlights of my visit, and highlight is definitely a great way to describe them.
I asked the wonderfully friendly and incredibly talented bartender Festa (she’s the one behind the bar every weekend at brunch, hand making each delicious Bloody Mary that is ordered!) what the most popular happy hour drink was. With little thought, the Raspberry Collins was recommended. It was delightfully refreshing, with real raspberry flavor, slightly fizzy, light and not too sweet. I found out they infuse regular vodka with real raspberries, as opposed to using raspberry vodka which can taste fake. They add a splash of lemon juice & soda for a simple, delicious libation.
Next I ordered a good sampling of foods including the goat cheese toast, pretzel & two dipping sauces and the short rib slider, all of which were absolutely wonderful.
The goat cheese toast was mild with a crunch & bit of spice from candied pecans, tart from a thin slice of green apple and slightly sweet and bitter from a balsamic reduction drizzle. Each bite was well balanced with all the right flavors. The bread was soft and chewy, not toasted, the only thing I’d consider changing about this otherwise simple, exceptional dish.
The pretzel. Oh the pretzel. Crunchy and perfectly salted on the outside, warm and perfectly soft and chewy on the inside. On it’s own, this is a really good soft pretzel! But add in the dipping sauces for a whole new level of flavor.
-Each pretzel comes with a beer mustard dipping sauce, a fairly standard, slightly sweet, mustard-y flavored, grainy dip, great for mustard lovers.
-But you can order additional sauces including a Bourbon Maple Peanut Butter and a Chipotle Cream Cheese. The peanut butter was a thick, very strong peanut butter flavored sauce, with mild sweet hints of maple and hardly any bourbon, but delicious nonetheless. The chipotle was thinner, with great roasted, southwestern, slightly spicy flavors.
-Both compliment the pretzel and drinking (especially heavier things like beer and bourbon) well, but I did feel like they overwhelmed the flavor of the delicious pretzel. I’d suggest taking bites of the plain pretzel and balancing it with bites with the dipping sauces, just so you don’t forget how good the pretzel itself is!
The short rib slider was also delicious, again slightly overwhelmed by a hot mustard, but it did provide great flavor. The meat itself was perfectly seasoned and tender, served on a toasted seeded bun, with arugula, caramelized onions and beecher’s flagship cheese. If those flavors don’t say comfort food to you, I don’t know what will. A really delicious flavor profile, warm, gooey and ready to leave you feeling full and comforted!
By this point, Festa had tried to encourage me to try another cocktail and started to explain the “adult punch” to me. Turns out they make a new batch of some sort of flavored juice/punch to mix with any liquor you prefer every few days. I can’t describe how lucky I was to be there the day I was. The feature that day happened to be made by Festa herself, and was an apricot tea lemonade with fresh strawberries. I first sampled it without alcohol (it can be ordered non-alcoholic!) and was blown away. After a few sips, I had to try it with vodka. I learned all the bartenders rotate through, making a new batch whenever it is needed, of whatever their imagination sparks that particular day. I suggest asking for a sample of this each time you’re in, and asking which liquor the bartender suggests would pair best with it that day. The profile is usually a juice/fruit base, with herbs or something added in, but all the past flavors Festa mentioned sounded delightful. Highly recommended at $7, and it is served in a handled mason jar…so awesome!
As my Lot No. 3 experience was coming to a close, I reflected back on why I hadn’t been here more often in the past, and am already strategizing how to get over the bridge more often. With happy hour 7 days a week, hopping over the bridge from Seattle on a weekend is such a short trip. If that isn’t enticing enough, Lot No. 3 also has an outdoor patio with full sun during the 3-6pm happy hour time (and umbrellas for shade lovers). With the great weather we’ve been having, why not venture out a bit and enjoy an afternoon in Bellevue at Lot No. 3?
Time: 3-6pm Daily
Address: 460 106th Ave NE Bellevue, WA 98004
Other Happy Hour Food Items: Plate O’ Bacon, Popcorn, Sweet Onion Dip and a Housemade Cinnamon Roll!