Coqktail Club: The Paragon
On February 16th the Cocktail Club met for our first meeting of 2006. It was my turn to pick the place and I chose The Paragon Restaurant and Bar on the top of Queen Anne. The Paragon had been a weekly stop for a friend and I several years ago – it was part of a Thursday night routine which started with wine tasting at Seattle Cellars and ended with appetizers and a cocktail or two at the Paragon. We got away from the routine when the construction around Seattle Cellars made parking too frustrating. I thought it was high time to get back to the top of Queen Anne as we’d always had good food and experiences there.
R and I arrived at 5:30 in time to catch the tail end of Happy Hour. They offer several martini-type cocktails for $4.50 and several appetizers for $5 on their Happy Hour menu. (Sample menu.) We started with a Lemon Drop and a Cosmo. Both drinks were good, if a bit light on the vodka. They are made with fresh fruit juices and have the perfect tang – no sickly sweet mixtures here! To accompany our cocktails we ordered a Rock Shrimp Quesadilla and Crispy Calamari. Both were excellent. The one thing I remember best about The Paragon is the quality of the food and the talent of the chef. These appetizers did not disappoint!
Just after Happy Hour ended, others in the group began arriving. K and N ordered a Manhattan and a Vodka Martini with a twist. The Manhattan was served straight up and N said it was very good, as was K’s tini. They also ordered Sake Mushroom-Soy Seared Ahi and Mongolian Chicken. Both dishes were excellent. The Ahi was grilled to perfection!
JB and JH arrived a bit later and ordered a Gin and Tonic and a Negroni, respectively. JB gave the G&T a thumbs-up. This was JH’s first Negroni but he’ll be ordering more from now on. By this time some of us were ready for our second round. R ordered a Lemon Drop based on the good experience I’d had; I ordered a Kamikaze – a drink I love but hardly ever order since so many bartenders muck them up; N ordered an Old-Fashioned; and JB decided to try a Bloody Mary.
With one exception, the Old-Fashioned, the drinks met all expectations. And, based on Robert’s recent article, I knew exactly what was wrong with the Old-Fashioned – too much soda! Instead of a tiny splash there was a good sized dollop or glug or whatever you’d like to call it in the drink and the balance was off. Somewhere along the line, a dish of Kataifi Prawns and couple of Mandarin and Tonics also made their way to our table and I was happy to see Mandarin and Tonics garnished with orange – too many places use lime, which is just wrong. :-)
Overall we had a great time at The Paragon and I’m happy to find that it still meets or exceeds expectations in so many ways. My one critique (and this is actually rather picky) is that there were a few drinks that we tried to order but they were not able to make because they didn’t have the proper ingredients or the bartender was not familiar with them. In their defense these were cocktails that not many, if any, others would order and they were upfront with telling us that they couldn’t meet the request. They didn’t try to slop together a reasonable facsimile like some places will do.
Based on this experience, we’ll be back again!
The Paragon Restaurant and Bar
2125 Queen Anne North Seattle
Happy Hour 4:00pm – 6:00pm Monday – Friday