Last Call: Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Southern Recipes Grill
2715 N Collins St, Arlington,
Drive South

Southern Recipes Grill is a mellow, low-key bar disguised as a large restaurant. It’s on an ugly stretch of Collins Street in what looks like an old farmhouse, between Brown Boulevard and Hwy. 360 in far North Arlington. Southern Recipes also is home of the $5 martini and, incidentally, the secret to happiness: happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. every day. Cheap martinis, cheap beer, and $3 house wines? That’s all my friends and I needed to hear.
Once inside, I bellied up to the bar and ordered a dirty martini, extra olives. The server asked, “Do you want salt with that?”
“Uh, martini, not margarita, thanks. Extra cold. Extra olives.”
She looked embarrassed. I cussed my choice of seat –– we had chosen one of the plentiful tables in the restaurant and not in the bar because my company was more in the mood to eat, not drink. A shame, because in addition to facing potential chaos when ordering, I would be missing whatever was on the big-screen TV in the bar.
I girded myself for my unsalted margarita with extra olives. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when the server brought out a perfectly hazy, icy ’tini replete with two skewers of olives. The briny drink tasted like the ocean, the sure sign of a faultless extra-dirty.
Thus fortified, I inspected the rest of the bar menu. Southern Recipes is proud of its wine list: two dozen varietals from Washington to California, Italy to New Zealand. While we were waiting, we scanned the appetizer menu –– like the booze, the apps are also half-price during happy hour.
Ciao Bella pinot grigio beckoned. How can you resist a wine called “Hello, beautiful”? I was meant to be transported to Venice, and, you know, maybe I got halfway there. Described on the menu has having “peach and citrus” aromas, the light-bodied vino paired well with the chicken tenders appetizer that we ordered to keep us from getting totally bombed. White goes with chicken, right? I guess.
One more glance at the bar menu –– because happy hour doesn’t end at Southern Recipes until 7 p.m., even on weekends. Then I saw it. The Folie a Deux Menage a Trois. No, the name has nothing to do with what you think, you dirty-minded animal, you. Rather, it denotes the mixture of three grapes: a zinfandel, a merlot, and a cabernet. Usually, I don’t like heavy cab, but this luscious red wine tasted like blackberry jam and made for a great dessert.
Sadly, I discovered that, while my martini was happy-hour priced, the wine was not. Only the house wines are $3. Two warnings: First, since Southern Recipes is mostly a restaurant with a little bar and is located in Arlington, it’s non-smoking. Second, the bar may be better than the restaurant itself. But there are precious few places to drink in Fun Central, a.k.a. the town with the most independent bar/restaurants in the 817, so I’m glad to add Southern Recipes to the list.

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