Monday, May 3, 2010

Hectors & Neighborhood Services

On day 3 of my extravaganza, Sol and I took a trip over to Hector's on Henderson for some wine & appetizers.  This is a place that always amazes me when it comes to the food.  If you go between 5-7:30pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays the chef is typically creating something special for the complimentary bar appetizers.  Chef Jorge Cruz almost always comes out to visit, say hello and sample some wine that Manager/Bartender Chris Chapman is serving that day.  I say that day because everyday there is always different wine.  He typically has a wine geek sitting at his bar trying to push some wine into his fridge.  And for good reason too - Chris knows his wine.  Most of the wine he strives to acquire, many establishments around town do not have in their inventory.  In fact I am quite sure that is what he strives for.

On Wednesday's they have $6 glasses of wine - GREAT wine, just ask Chris what he likes that night.  Another great perk if you're a whino, they have a 30 for 30 menu, meaning 30 different bottles of wine for $30.  Thursday's is craft beer night - great list $3 a beer I think?  Maybe $5 for their more expensive ones.  Also, Hector, the owner, is always out on the floor talking to tables, running drinks, food or singing.  He is a man of many talents.  ANY-WAYS on to some good food. 
We were too late for the free apps so we decided to go with the Lobster Caviar Deviled Eggs and...that's when Chris grabbed the chef and asked him if he had any left over apps from happy hour - HE DID!  They were Chicken Fried Smoked Sausage (You better not be thinking breakfast sausage) over Tabasco aioli and served with a remoulade.  At six to a n order I had 3 and so did Sol.  They were even better than they look.  Bartender Chris said this was the first time he'd even seen it.  Chef Jorge - making new shit ev-er-E day.  I could never even dream of the stuff he puts on a plate.  Oh yeah, the deviled eggs?  Amazing!  I had just had some not-so-good ones a few days earlier so these were like heaven in my mouth.  Creamy and rich with some good texture because of the lobster.  Way good.  Next place....

Some of you might know I've been wanting to go to Neighborhood Services (link is to restaurant not the tavern i went to, not sure it has a website yet), it's a new spot over on North Henderson.  Let me just tell you it was everything I was expecting and more.  It had a funny start (weird funny not haha funny).  But it ended well.  The bartender with a handlebar mustache welcomed us and told us to have a seat.  He was wearing a white shirt, a colorful tie and an apron.  I checked out the beer, nice selection.  But I had read about their cocktails, hand crafted, original, and thoughtfully made.  I am happy to say it was everything I had hoped it would be, and I had high hopes.  The bartender was a nice guy very talkative and informative.  He also had a trainee following him around, so that was interesting to watch.  The guy in training was actually making our drinks, stirring it, smelling it and of course - a trait of any great bartender - tasting it to make sure it was balanced.

I had a: "New Fang" - Sazerac Rye Whiskey, Sugar, St. Germaine's, and Oranger Bitters

Sol had a:  "Domino Fizz" - Hayman's Old Tom Gin, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup Soda garnished with Lavedar

What good drinks - so well made - so much thought put into each one that left the bartenders hand.  Some people talk about cooks putting love in to their food, well, good bartenders put passion into their cocktails.  I truly believe that, because you can taste that passion while enjoying your cocktail sitting at the bar top talking to them listening to the way they speak about their profession.  I think that is why I like to sit at the bar instead of at a table.

Unfortunately, my camera phone was running out of battery so I could not get a good picture of the cocktails. So I do apologize for that.  One cool thing worth mentioning is that these places that I like so much stir a lot of their drinks rather than shaking them, therefore, they use a bar spoon (pictured left).  At this establishment they not only stir but they garnish every drink with a bar spoon.  I thought it was kind of a nice touch...oh yeah about that bar spoon ummmmm when Sol let me try her drink I was a little buzzed.  So without looking I put my mouth over what I thought was a straw, and yes, it was the bar spoon.  But you know what?  IT WAS A STRAW TOO!!!!!  Pretty nifty right?  I never would have guessed.

We were a little upset because the kitchen had already closed but after talking to us for a while the bartender went to check to see if there was anything left in back he could scrounge up for us.  What he came back with was chickpea spread, also know as hummus.  Great presentation.  It was very good, normally I have slight allergy to hummus, my tongue starts to itch, TMI?  Sorry.  For whatever reason this was fine, more than fine.  The different flavors pranced around on my taste buds, and the buds were happy with me that I was finally giving them some stimulation after such a long lay off.  In fact I was happy with me for that too!

Oh yea and bartender handle-bar mustache guy - turns out he was the GM.

Great Chef @ Hector's_Master Wine Guy(Chris)_Handlebar-mustache-bartender-GM Guy = GREAT NIGHT OUT!

Neighborhood Services Tavern on UrbanspoonHector's on Henderson on Urbanspoon

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