Happy Hour

Roaring Fork in Scottsdale: Happy Hour Report Card

The Spot: Roaring Fork 4800 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale 480-947-0795 www.roaringfork.com

See Also: - SoChu House in Phoenix: Happy Hour Report Card - Green Chile Mac and Cheese Smackdown: The Main Ingredient vs. Roaring Fork - 10 Best Margaritas in Metro Phoenix

The Hours: Happy Hour is offered daily from 4 until 7 p.m.

The Interior: A wise fellow Chow Bella-er once said "there's a fine line between happy hour and early-bird special." The reference was directed at Roaring Fork, and after a happy hour visit, we know why. The décor in Roaring Fork, along with the odd tucked-away location, may explain why the crowd was older than any other happy hour we've visited. The Southwestern hunting lodge vibe has antlers in all of its decorating, rich colors, chunky furniture and other factors that set the scene for an over-60 vibe. Seating for happy hour is limited to the patio, bar and lounge areas, which do fill up fast -- so come early.

The Food: The second factor that we feel contributes to the older scene at Roaring Fork is the food itself. After sampling many of the menu items on more than one occasion, it's clear that they use decent ingredients and have a decent concept but the pricing is a little high. Most menu offerings run between $7 to $12 for small plates. The food itself is definitely on the bland side.

Our beef tenderloin sliders ($12) were well prepared but flavorless, even with the addition of the sides of horseradish cream and super-sweet onion jus. The tortilla soup ($6), which is poured over tortilla strips, rotisserie chicken and avocado at the table, had a decent kick to it, but nothing really interesting or different about it. Plus the act of pouring the soup over those ingredients seemed very old-school fine dining. Finally, while the kettle of green chile pork ($7) didn't photograph well, it was easily the most flavorful menu item we sampled with cheesy goey pork marinated in the tangy chiles. Plus the accompanying buttered warm tortillas really hit the spot.

The Drink: Our first choice off of the happy hour drink list was a guava mojito, but our server abruptly informed us that it's not guava anymore and we could have an orange-infused mojito. Since orange is no substitute for guava, we just went with the "famous" margarita ($5). Unfortunately, we were met with a cocktail that didn't have a lick of freshness to it. Also, they don't have beer on tap--at all. Who doesn't have beer on tap? Our friend then chose a can of San Tan's Devil's Pale Ale, which was unfortunately $5.

The Conclusion: The less-than cordial service and the guava mojito debacle didn't earn this place points. However, the main concern or critique for Roaring Fork's happy hour in both food and drink is that it is really just nothing special. Give us some spice on the sliders and a freshly made marg and we'll come back later.

Grade: C

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Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch