Great news, food fans: Catalan has recently started an outrageously awesome happy hour. Whether you know and love the place, or have had it on your must-try list for years, the new deal provides an affordably fun way to get your fantasy fix. The happy hour menu includes six "street food" items for $5 each, and it's served from 4-7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays (5-7 p.m. on weekends).
Each of the six dishes stems from the energetically creative side of dynamo chef Chris Shepherd and rotates weekly according to his fancy. The arborio-dusted calamari arrives crunchy and hot, served with a kick-a-rific jalapeño-lime sauce. How Shepherd captures the absolute ideal ratio of crunch to chew in that calamari continues to baffle us nearly a week later. The roasted Berkshire pork belly topped with pure cane syrup is the same one you'll find on the regular dinner menu -- the texture-flavor combination absolutely sings. The dish is deliciously decadent, and it seems sinful to pass up three huge pieces at that $5 price tag. Fried housemade pickles and Gulf shrimp beignets went down the hatch tasty and quick.
But the decided table favorite was the roasted flatbread... Last week's version featured a "simple pleasures" combination of bright local tomatoes, smooth goat cheese, and fresh basil. The large dish was easy to share, but that certainly didn't stop us from ordering three of 'em. This week's menu includes an equally enticing BLT flatbread.
No happy hour's complete without a swift cocktail, and Catalan's got those covered, too. We drank the place out of the surprisingly light white sangria, an excellent complement to the summer sun. Well drinks are $5 each, and they've also got great deals on St. Arnold's beers ($2.50) and Lone Star longnecks ($1.75).
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Catalan's weekly happy hour menu is tasty, creative, and happily satisfying, much like the "Chef's Playground" section of the regular menu. Planned for the near future? A killer hotdog and a fried bologna sandwich. Uh-huh. The portions are big and the price is right, so grab a buddy and belly up.