The Spot: Rice Paper, 2221 N. 7th Street, Phoenix, 602-252-3326
The Hours: 11 am- 6:30 pm, 7 days a week.
The Details: The Cen-Pho newbie may have higher price points on traditional Vietnamese fare than what you're used to, but with happy hour discounts that run all day, 7 days a week, there's very little room to complain.
From 11 am to 6:30 pm, enjoy $2.75 drafts, $5 wines by the glass, $4 wells and $6 specialty cocktails such as The Mandarin Ginger Fizz and "Surprise Me," (a cocktail that depends on the bartender and his/her mood). From 3 to 6:30 pm, enjoy $6 appetizers and $1 off the extensive and inspired spring roll selection.
(Get the Rice Paper Happy Hour rundown, after the jump.)
The Interior: What used to be a dilapidated household is now a trendy, clean Vietnamese eatery. Fresh flowers in clear vases, wood accents, and modern decor create a hip setting that feels far from ostentatious or stuffy. Instead the vibe is casual, almost like we've been invited to dinner at someone's tasteful home.
The Cost: A Sapporo draft, Mandarin Ginger Fizz cocktail, two spring rolls and calamari appetizer came out to $21, before tax and tip.
The Conclusion: Hooray for a stylish upscale Vietnamese dining experience in Midtown's Coronado District! Yes, the regular menu prices are a bit steep for this particular style of cuisine, but with all things considering-- fresh ingredients, a clean and trendy atmosphere, unique food and cocktail options, and especially an all-day happy hour offering-- Rice Paper is winning our dollars.
Though we weren't crazy about our calamari (the dipping sauce lacked flavor and had a weird gelatin-like texture), we slopped up every last fresh vegetable garnish in hoisin and sririacha on the plate of our delicious spring rolls.
In addition, our server was sweet and accommodating-- and let's just say, that's not exactly the norm at our typical hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese find.
Welcome to the hood and our personal happy hour itinerary, Rice Paper Vietnamese.
Overall Grade: A