The Gladly in Phoenix: Happy Hour Report Card

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The Spot: The Gladly 2201 East Camelback Road 602-759-8132 www.thegladly.com

See Also: The Gladly, Sadly, a Hit-or-Miss First Taste

The Hours: Happy Hour is offered daily from 3 until 6 p.m.

The Interior: The sister restaurant of Citizen Public House openedto mixed reviews a couple of months ago in the old Ruth's Chris Steak House. In terms of décor, the dark, cave-like and bar-centric ambiance of Citizen carried over to The Gladly, with the main difference being the fact that the concept's namesake sunny philosophy on service actually does brighten the place up a bit. Take our server, Kat, for instance -- she was knowledgeable and friendly in the way you'd hope, but not always expect, a server to be, meaning she could both answer specific menu questions and took the time to stop to chat with us just for the heck of it. Booth, table, and bar seating are all available options to happy hour diners.

The Food: With six different options selected from the appetizer menu, The Gladly's happy hour menu does give you some sense of what to expect from the rest of the menu. Bar classics like roasted nuts ($2), chicken wings ($6), and a pretzel with cheese and sausage ($5) are all simple places to start. The Gladly also offers a smoked cheese fondue ($5) with pork butt, bread, and pear chunks that is an interactive, delicious, and playful throwback to the somewhat dated dish. While the smoky cheese pairs well with all of its other components, the fondue itself wasn't as smooth as we'd hoped for.

The two happy hour dishes that really blew us away were the Brussels sprouts ($4) and the pistachio chicken liver pate ($5). The perfectly roasted Brussels sprouts were covered in shaved Pecorino Romano with truffle oil and served on a bed of grits, for a hearty, wintery, and yet still veggie-focused plate. Our favorite dish of the night was the pate, which came with crostini, mustard, pickled onions, and capers. The combination of the spicy mustard, spiced velvety pate, sweet onions, and salty capers was so balanced and flavorful that we couldn't help filling up on bite after bite.

The Drink: The drink deal for happy hour is half-priced drafts, $5 select glasses of wine, $5 draft negronis and a $5 featured cocktail. When we went, the featured cocktail was a sweet, but not very interesting, mix of grapefruit juice, tea vodka, and lemon soda that would be great for someone who doesn't really like cocktails because it was more like an adult lemonade than a complex, mixological concoction. The negroni on draft unfortunately suffered from the same over-sugary issue. We're used to dry herbal and bitter flavors in a negroni, but we were met with a syrupy cocktail that had vague negroni flavor notes shrouded in sweetness. While we weren't amazed by either of our cocktails, we weren't put off either. They were drinkable, just not very complex.

The Conclusion: Despite some minor issues we had with execution, we got delicious chicken liver pate, phenomenal Brussels sprouts, decent fondue, and two craft cocktails for $26. No matter what your initial expectations were going into The Gladly (if there were any) the happy hour specials are a cut above the rest, and the service is as cordial as the name promises.

Grade: A-

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