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3 Dishes Neighborhood Restaurant Review: Bootleggers Whiskey Bar

| November 3, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Greg Mattie

11-4 Bootleggers Whiskey Bar by Greg MattieIf you want to watch the latest ballgame and sink a few singles into a slot machine, Bootleggers is not for you. Heck, owners Doug Carpenter and Karmen Knutsen will happily refer you next door to the Broadway Saloon for that kind of fix. However, if you are looking for a place to get great mixed drinks and nosh on some high-end bar food, feel free to walk into Bootleggers Whiskey Bar.

Here is what’s unique about Bootleggers. As the name suggests, this bar pays homage to the Prohibition Era: that unfortunate time in America, under the Volstead Act, where it was illegal to sell, produce, or transport alcohol (from 1920-1933). Brave entrepreneurs, in spite of this act, would produce alcohol (bootlegging) and open up secret bars to sell their hooch.

But enough of the history lesson, let’s get to the fun part. Doug credits Karmen’s extensive research to find mixed drinks that were popular during this era. Not only are the drinks authentic, the methods behind the libations are also true to the bartending crafts of yesteryear. In fact, the art of frothing a drink using egg whites does not go ignored by these Bootlegger mixologists.

In addition to the tasty drinks Doug and Karmen hired Chef Gerald Jeppesen to handle the cooking duties. The menu is simple, comprising of small plates and entrees all made from scratch using local ingredients and local vendors. As a testament to Chef Gerald’s hard work and skill, he has turned bar food (which is normally a bunch of bland fried, greasy fare) into a respectful portfolio of carefully, thought out delicious cuisine:

Dish 1: Bacon & Jalapeño Wrapped Shrimp and Stuffed Mushrooms/$9, (Paring: Pendleton Manhattan/$10)11-1 Bacon & Jalapeño Wrapped Shrimp at Bootleggers by Greg Mattie

This is a great little combo of an appetizer. The bacon wrapped shrimp and jalapeno definitely has a kick to it. Dip it into the maple bourbon glaze to add a little sweetness to the fire. The stuffed mushrooms provide the delicate relief from the hard-hitting jalapenos. Stuffed with Italian sausage, cream cheese and chives, each bite challenges you to not let the succulent juices drip down your chin. This dish is paired with a Pendleton Manhattan, made with Pendleton whisky, sweet vermouth, bitters and garnished with a cherry. It is smooth like the city it is named after.

Dish 2: Italian Meatball/$11, Paring: Blood Orange Bourbon/$811-2 Italian Meetball at Bootleggers by Greg Mattie

Homemade meatballs, stuffed with mozzarella cheese, served with tender penne pasta and an Alfredo sauce made to order. The meatballs are super tender. When cut into, the mozzarella just oozes out. Surprisingly, you do not see more eateries attempt this style of meatball. The Alfredo sauce is creamy and smooth, appropriately portioned where the penne pasta is not swimming in a moat of sauce. As a reward, I had a Blood Orange Bourbon, prepared with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, blood orange soda, and simple syrup. It is sweet, tangy, followed with a nice kick from the bourbon.

Dish 3: Cardamom Cake/$7, Paring: Blackberry Bramble/$1211-3 Cardamom Cake at Bootleggers by Greg Mattie

This delicate upgrade to the boring coffee cake is moist and rich, with seams of cinnamon and walnuts and drizzled with a whiskey-butter sauce. Chef Gerald uses sour cream in his recipe to make this dessert extra moist. To balance the sweetness of the cake, I was prepared a Blackberry Bramble, made with Pendleton 1910, fresh blackberries, fresh lemon juice, Maraschino liquor, club soda and a sprig of mint. It is crisp and tart. The fresh blackberries just complements the freshness of the drink.

Bootleggers serves a classic atmospheric vibe, transforming you to the days when bars were a place to have great drinks and chum it up with good friends. Come here, relax, eat some great food and have a well-made drink. Prohibition may be over but it’s alive and kickin’ here in old town Beaverton.

These were my 3 dishes, which ones will you try?

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Category: Community

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