Budget Beat

Budget Beat: Steamers Genuine Seafood

Sometimes, happy hour is meant to be enjoyed at a run-of-the-mill bar, passing the time with cheap beer and chicken wings or nachos. But sometimes you want to see how the other half drinks after work. That's when you belly up to the bar at a joint like Steamers. The old-school seafood restaurant on the second floor of the east end of Biltmore Fashion Park offers a nice little "social hour" on weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m.

It's the kind of place where the after-work crowd has their briefcases and laptops on the table, right next to their $2 glass of Kilt Lifter, and their suit coats draped over the back of the chair next to them. So, you know, it's a better class of people than the folks I usually run with. Still, I don't mind throwing my Chuck high-tops in the closet to step out with the well-heeled.

So, there the missus and I were on a recent Tuesday night, seated at a nice table that looked out, through an open window, over Steamers' second-floor patio. The weather has been perfect for this sort of thing. Especially when you're enjoying those $2 premium draft beers. Already, it appeared to be a good deal.

The "social hour" menu had a decent variety, including mini-hamburgers (they're everywhere!), shrimp cocktail, chicken quesadilla, fish 'n' chips, and several other goodies. We opted for the steamed mussels, the coconut and sesame seed fried shrimp, and a spicy tuna sushi roll. Most of the items on the menu were about $5, which is nearly half of what they would be outside of happy hour. All in all, we filled up on those three appetizers and the two beers for $19. You can easily spend that much at the corner dive.

I've never eaten in Steamers' main dining room, where I'm sure the seafood is top-notch and the service and atmosphere are befitting the rather exclusive address. But beyond the well-appointed setting and $2 beers, the "social hour" left me wanting something more. Maybe I  just ordered the wrong grub. If you've been, let me know what I should've ordered. And, as always, if you know of a great bargain meal out there that you'd like to see written about, hit me up at [email protected]

Steamers Genuine Seafood
2756 East Camelback Road
Social hour: weekdays, 3 to 6 p.m.

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Jay Bennett
Contact: Jay Bennett