Andina Happy Hour
1314 NW Glisan
Tues-Fri 4-6 pm
Andina's happy hour is something of a tease. While the components soar and delight, one gets the impression of a greater presence beyond the tidy happy hour menu. Granted, this "presence" is a well-staffed kitchen sizzling, searing, and bustling within plain sight, coupled with glorious looking entrees passing within sniffing distance. But, that's the point of happy hour. You can visit the church, and even worship, without having to convert or pay the tithe.
The happy hour drink menu is simple, offering three different but equally enticing specials, all for four dollars. The Doris is a variation on the Cosmo, substituting light rum for vodka and pomegranate syrup for cranberry juice. Served straight-up in a martini glass, it's a juicier, more tropical cocktail than the Cosmo with a higher hangover quotient, but yummy nonetheless. The Solano, served rocks-style, is a dusky Andean cowboy drink, made with Maker's Mark and key lime juice, plus cinnamon and clove imbued sugar. If Benicio Del Toro were a drink, he would be the Solano. The third drink offered up is the no-nonsense Toronjita, a Sauza tequila drink teamed with the makes-perfect-sense fresh squeezed orange, grapefruit, and lime juices. It's muddled with sugar and served over ice, perfectly diluting this citrusy mélange.
The food selections featured during happy hour, like the cocktails, are a simplified cross-section of Andina's skill and ingenuity. Despite their cheeky descriptions on the menu, any of the eight tapas items are hardly a gamble at two dollars.
The Choritos a la Chalaca deliver, as promised, several delightfully tiny mussels cooked in Peruvian beer, served on the half shell with salsa criolla. Their diminutive size and beer bath keep them from being as overpowering as their larger counterparts. The Conchas a la Parmesana is basically a large single chunk of scallop baked in its shell and crusted with parmesan cheese. The rich flavor is more than enough to make you order it again.
Touting Cebiche de Campiones as Peru's flagship dish is a tall order, and while delicious, this Crimini mushroom version doesn't compare to Andina's mango and prawn cebiche or the scallop, shrimp, and squid version. Another popular and ample dish is the Chicharron Novoandino de Pollo. These crispy chicken tenders are cooked golden-brown in a quinoa breading and served with a nutty yucca and sweet potato sauce. The Taboule de Cereals Andinos brings you back to simple eating with a comforting cooked grain salad featuring the unsung hero of grain, quinoa. It is coupled with the obscure Incan staple grain, kiwicha, and served with fresh greens drizzled with vinaigrette.
Combining traditional Andeo-Peruvian cuisine and market-demand noveau almost perfectly, Andina impresses with options. The open, lofted space is divided into a dining area and a lounge with a full view of the open kitchen from either side. They will also, this spring, be offering courtyard seating for those perfect afternoons. So whether you want to drink pisco and sample tapas, impress the parents with a high brow culinary adventure, or just take respite from the rain with a couple of well-crafted cocktails, Andina sets the table you're looking for.