TakEatEasy, Downtown

It’s ironic that because TakEatEasy *isn’t* in a gas station, it might have more trouble surviving than when its owners were at Fast Gourmet – the “cool” factor is gone, and it’s now going toe-to-toe with the likes of Malaysia Kopitiam and its other neighbors.

The decor is very casual, but a definite step up from the gas station, and on Friday and Saturday nights, it’s currently open until 5 AM, and would be a perfect pace to unwind with a meal after a long night at the bars downtown. 

I’ve only had dinner here, and nothing on the menu is more expensive than $16.50. Happy hour runs from 4-8 PM, and the deals are impressive: $5 tapas, $4 beers, and $5 glasses of wine. 

I started with an Allagash White ($4 at happy hour), and you just knew I had to get the Chivito ($15) my first time here. On the menu, it’s listed with (take a deep breath) … filet mignon, ham, pancetta, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, pickled shiitake, onions, egg, Boston lettuce, plum tomato, garlic mayo confit, served on a soft roll and with fries. Whew! Despite this, it’s not as gloppy as when it was being made at Fast Gourmet, but even though it’s toned down, and perhaps more “elegant,” dare I say? It’s still just as good, qualitatively, as it was before. Just as good, but a little cleaner. And the fries are fresh-cut, not frozen.

As much as I loved the Chivito, I may hit the $5 tapas on my second visit (all but two are $5). In particular, I have my eye on the Lengua a la Vinegreta, Croquetas de Bacalao, and Rollitos de Jamon Serrano, all three of which will be $15 total during happy hour. 

For the second half of my Chivito, I asked for a white wine, and they had Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling. I followed my own advice of, “When in doubt, go with Sauvignon Blanc,” and I’m glad I did because it was good wine. This was a good 5-6 ounce pour, in high-quality stemware, and the wine was good enough where I asked to see the bottle. It was a 2011 Hemisferio from Chile which is made in partnership with the legendary Spanish vintner Miguel Torres. I think it was a little after 8 when I ordered it, and I was fully expecting to pay full boat, but the bartender kindly gave it to me at the happy hour price of $5 which is pretty ridiculous for such a good glass of wine (it’s usually $7.50)

This is a casual place, and the staff is super-friendly. There’s a bar, and the restaurant has flat-screens for easy viewing of soccer games (and with these owners, soccer games are probably what you’ll be watching). It needs more publicity because the food is quite good – I saw what was being brought out, and am impressed.

TakEatEasy is comfortably initiated in Italic in the donrockwell.com Dining Guide, and should be on everyone’s lunch repertoire who works nearby. Well done, gentlemen.

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