Friday, April 18, 2008

Kenny & Zuke's

"That's so much food." Our waiter seemed incredulous. Had he never seen two girls order a Pastrami Burger, Sabrett Hot Dog with the works, Side 'o Fries, and a Grape Crush off the Kenny & Zuke's ( late night happy hour menu? It had been a harrowing evening. We'd just prematurely escaped the confines of the packed Ani DiFranco concert at the nearby Crystal Ballroom after Michelle's narrow brush with an angry concertgoer who objected to my sister accidentally spraying an entire mouthful of Diet Coke & Amaretto on her white t-shirt during a moment of unplanned mirth, and the excitement of it all had made us hungry.

The lit windows of Kenny and Zuke's big cheerful dining room beckoned us in out of the FREEZING Friday night air. The host asked me if I wanted a table for one, and I whirled around in alarm, sure my sister had ducked out and gone dancing at Boxxes without me, but I found her hiding and snickering, immaturely, in the flowing red drapes that protect patrons from the FREEZING faux-Spring breeze.

Our server kindly brought us approximately 16 million menus to choose from, all very brightly colored and so distracting we just stared dumbly at the pile until our two favorite words "Happy" and "Hour", jumped out at us from one of the smaller menus. After fierce deliberation about Reuben sliders vs. Hot Dogs and Caesar salads vs. Fries, we decided on the Pastrami Burger ($7.50), covered in thick slabs of pastrami and melted Swiss, the Sabrett Hot Dog (a scant $2.75!) with relish and carmelized onions or kraut, and a Side o' Fries ($2.75) served with house-made ranch.

"That's so much food," we all said in unison as he set the plates down an agonizing 20 minutes later, during which Michelle churlishly sipped her Grape Crush and we reminisced about the time she was grounded for 1001 days after she traded her new black patent leather Mary Jane's for a bottle of Grape Crush after church one Sunday. I believe Michelle was also seen nodding irritatedly at a vacated and leftover-food-covered table nearby and saying loudly, "Can't we just eat the fries off THAT

When the food came, the burger was deliciously-flavored and quite juicy although perhaps a tad underdone, even for us.
The hot dog was divine, if you are into hot dogs. It was long, salty, and slathered in kraut and relish, although you could opt for carmelized onions in lieu of the kraut. The fries were thin, hot and perfectly crispy, and the ranch was the thin tangy variety that gently coated your fries as they were dunked, with limited coordination, into the small bowl provided. "That was so much food," we groaned as the server approached and silently surveyed the carnage. "That was so much food," he agreed, obviously making a concerted effort not to cast dubious glances at our thighs. If we weren't overburdened with self-confidence, we'd probably have gotten a complex.
Then he knocked over a salt shaker brushing against a nearby table as he staggered back to the kitchen bearing the weight of our empty plates. Let us hope his luck does not sour, like the kraut on the Kenny & Zuke's Sabrett Hot Dog satisfiedly devoured by two hungry Ani DiFranco fans on a FREEZING Friday night in Downtown Portland.

Kenny & Zuke's Delicatessen * 1038 SW Stark St * * 503.222.3354 * M-Th: 7:00am - Midnight, F: 7:00am - 3:00am, Sat: 8:00am - 3:00am, Sun: 8:00am - 10:00pm * yes, lots of menus; yes, lots of food; yes, Grape Crush

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