Softball season has started for Jeff, and I never thought I'd hear myself saying this, but I am so happy! Why? Because now that we're living way outside of the city, the only nights I can easily hang around and see my friends are the nights he has softball. I mentioned this to Daisy and Lin when we saw each other at Bond, and they happily volunteered to meet me in Fenway the following week for dinner and drinks at the newly opened venture from Michael Schlow: Happy's Bar + Kitchen. (You may have heard of some of Schlow's other restaurants: Radius, Via Matta, Alta Strada, and Tico.)
We walked in the front door and saw the creatively decorated, graffiti-adorned bar area off to the left. The host quickly and happily greeted us and showed us to a large booth in the dining area, straight ahead. We settled in with menus and spent the next 5 to 10 minutes deliberating over drinks. The Tip of the Hat called out to me immediately. The combination of gin, St-Germain, cucumber, and white grape juice was cool and refreshing with a hint of sweetness. I'll be ordering it again on future visits.
With drinks decided on we faced the more difficult decision of the evening: what to eat. Even though many of the entrees sounded amazing and interesting (namely the TV dinner and giant bowl of ramen), we opted to try a bunch of appetizers and munchies instead, figuring that we'd be able to sample a lot more of the menu that way.
The first dish we ordered was the Plate of Really Delicious Cured Meats with All the Garnishes. And those cured meats were indeed really delicious, as were the pickled vegetables, mustards, and grilled bread.
Next we tried the Tender Duck Tacos with Cucumber, Cilantro, Mint, and Chiles. Two words: Get these! The duck was incredibly tender, rich, and almost buttery. I think we all wished we didn't have to share.
We saw the mac and cheese pass by our table when we were deciding what to order, and that visual was all the prompting we needed. The creamy, cheesy pasta arrived in a cast-iron dish, topped with crunchy bread crumbs and filled with bacon, peas, and jalapeños. It was definitely a hit.
Thinking that we might need something "lighter" to accompany the meats, duck tacos, and mac and cheese, we decided to order The Greatest Wedge... Ever. This was a very good wedge salad with fresh lettuce, ripe red tomatoes, creamy blue cheese, crispy bacon, and pungent red onions. Greatest wedge ever? That might be taking it a little far, but we definitely enjoyed it.
Last but most definitely not least, the housemade ricotta accompanied by toasty bread was my second favorite dish of the evening. It came in a small dish, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sage and red pepper flakes. I lavishly spread it on the toast and enjoyed every bite.
At this point I had finished my first drink and as much as I loved it and wanted to order it again, I thought I'd try something else. The Bossa Nova, a mixture of cachaca, lemon, passionfruit, and prosecco was a bit sweeter than my first drink but just as refreshing.
Happy's didn't have a printed dessert menu when we went, but our waitress gave us the rundown. I think we all perked up when we heard about the Mascarp-Oreos and the Nutella Tart. We decided to go with the Mascarp-Oreos and save the Nutella Tart for our next visit.
The Mascarp-Oreos are homemade Oreo cookie outsides served with a bowl of a creamy mascarpone mixture. We loved dunking the crunchy, chocolaty Oreos in the cool, creamy, sweet dip.
Happy's general manager Jay noticed that we had only ordered one dessert, so he sent us out the strawberry shortcake to try as well. This was a huge, shareable portion of ripe strawberries on fresh shortcake with sweet whipped cream.
Our bill arrived with a pile of Mary Janes, which was just the right note to end the evening on.
We had amazing service (thanks, Katie!), great food, and interesting cocktails, not to mention a lot of fun. If you're looking for somewhere new to check out in Fenway with some fun food and drink options, Happy's is a must!