The Place: United Provisions (6241 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-833-5699)
The Hours: Happy hour is offered Fridays from 4 to 6 p.m.
The Deals: Half-off select sushi, sake, wine and beer.
The Scene: We got our first look of United Provisions' the Dining District -- the new hybrid grocer and prepared-foods vendor in the Delmar Loop -- just last month. The shiny new facility's open kitchen currently offers everything from sandwiches to charcuterie, but a sandwich board that sits at the entrance advertises the restaurant's specialty: sushi. Several area students have already caught on to the Friday food deal, so show up early to get a piece of the half-price action.
The Food: The Dining District features a special happy-hour menu that starts with appetizers: edamame, seaweed salad, octopus salad and miso soup -- each for $2.75 or less. The menu continues with a la carte nigiri or sashimi ($.36 to $1.50) including quail egg and eel, and it concludes with a list of more than fifteen sushi rolls that range from avocado and asparagus rolls ($2.25 to $2.50) to specialty combinations including "Mexican" and "Crunch" rolls ($5).
Did United Provisions make the grade? Find out on the next page.
The Verdict: The seaweed salad was a simple but satisfying preparation of cool, well-dressed strands to amp up our appetites while waiting for the bulk of our meal. Instead of a traditional plate, the sushi came presented on a wooden platter, arranged in artful rows and sections. A la carte items including the eel and fluke gave us acute first impressions of the flavors to come -- the eel a perfectly seasoned portion over supple rice and the fluke a delightfully fresh cut of fish.
Of the rolls, the spicy tuna with spicy sauce, green onion, fish roe, soy, sesame oil and cucumber seemed to play it safe with a delicate, well-done preparation. A couple of unique rolls with a bit of a kick include the "Crazy" with tuna, salmon, whitefish, spicy sauce, fish roe, cucumber and avocado, as well as a "Mexican" with chicken, spicy sauce, cucumber, avocado and cilantro.
However, our favorite was the "Crunch" roll with shrimp, avocado, cucumber, panko, and a spicy mayo with a hint of sweetness that took the right balance of textures and tastes over the top. All in all, United Provisions provides a particularly sweet meal deal for students and beyond albeit for a tiny time frame -- get it before it's gone.
The Rating: On a scale of one to five...
Previously on Happy Hour Handbook: - Hammerstone's - Ranoush - Siam - SOHA Bar & Grill - Modesto - Square One Brewery - Cicero's - SqWires - Layla - Five Star Burgers - Central Table Food Hall - Planter's House - Atomic Cowboy - Stella Blues - Triumph Grill - Lola - Basso - Blue Ocean Sushi - Hwy 61 Roadhouse and Kitchen - Gringo - Jax Cafe - Mile 277 Tap & Grill - Sandrina's - Mangia Italiano - Kirkwood Station Brewing Company - Steve's Hot Dogs on the Hill
We're always looking for some more happy hour meal deals. E-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.