Happy Hour: Mitchell’s Ocean Club

By
From the October 25, 2012 edition

Easton mall falls away like a mirage — or it’s like you’ve passed through some kind of quantum wormhole — when you step into Mitchell’s Ocean Club.

Breezy, posh and dusky, in here, where a “Mad Men”-era glamour sizzles, a piano guy plays “My Satin Doll” amid dramatic design elements such as lilac-lit sheer curtains, curvy forms expressed in smooth wood and a swooping bar.

Overseeing it all is a friendly and professional staff clad in ties and spiffy white jackets. Basically, Mitchell’s looks exactly like what it actually is — an expensive oasis of sipping and supping that makes you forget you’re still in a mall. Well, it’s expensive unless you visit the bar area during Mitchell’s happy hour deal-a-thon (4-6:30 p.m., Monday-Friday).

The Booze

Except for Chimay, all of Mitchell’s 20 some bottled beers (which include brews from Sierra Nevada, Bell’s and Great Lakes) are $3 apiece. Dozens of wines by the glass are slashed from $12 (or under) to $7; for a nice little sparkler, try the crisp and impressively small-bubbled Domaine Carneros.

Several specialty cocktails are discounted to the “I’ll-have-another” price of $6. These range from a tropical punch-y quaff garnished with vodka-drenched pineapple that arrives gurgling and smoking from dry ice (Passion Martini) to a pretty pear and lemon number (Elderflower La Poire) to a manlier yet refined Whiskey Clover (with Gentleman Jack, Hennessey cognac, honey and lemon) to a clean and killer blend of cucumber and citrus I could drink all day (Cucumber Gimlet, shaken with Bombay Sapphire).

The Food

Small plate appetizers go for $5. The winners include fusion-y but terrific (and Rosendale’s-esque — remember that sorely missed place?) Tuna Tartar Tacos (silky, soy sauce-scented sushi-grade rubies stuffed into crispy wonton shells; served with lots of creamy guacamole); hefty little Braised Short Rib Sliders (puffy, cut-above buns with super-juicy pot roast-type meat spiked with horsey sauce); a heaving basket of hand-cut Parmesan Truffle French Fries (I’m over the truffle oil, but these spuds were crispy and practically grease-free); and a strong rendition of Calamari (tender squid, toasted nuts and roasted peppers in a sweet Thai chili sauce).