By Helen Mitternight
You know a place has the right vibe when the food and bev crowd starts to hang out there. And that’s why I hesitate to review Felix – the F&B crowd could suddenly decide too many of the rest of us are hanging out and migrate somewhere else like a flock of monarchs.
I thought Felix was going to be just another hotel bar since it is attached to the Hyatt Place on upper King. But the bar has a separate entrance and a separate personality. Owner Felix Landrum is trying to go for a Parisian theme, and I was a willing cocktail and appetizer sampler, all comped by the management so I could try the new menus.
First, the cocktails because the place has a good cocktail program going. I skipped the French classics in favor of several of the house cocktails.
If you want something light, the Felix Tonic is a delicious, icy concoction of cognac and tonic. If winter’s cold makes you long for something a bit richer, the Alpine Piste with bourbon, Genepy des Alpes (a rare wormwood-based liqueur used to make Chartreuse – I had to look it up!), black tea and byrrh (a red wine-based aperitif). The Piste has a nice, smoky and herbal taste. China China #2 combines rye, Calvados, sherry and chocolate bitters with some other things that deliver a caustic astringent taste with a secondary taste of the rich chocolate.
You’ll need something to absorb all that booze and Felix specializes in small plates designed to accompany those elaborate cocktails.
It pains me to say this because I am a deviled egg fanatic, but skip the lobster deviled eggs. They’re tiny, slightly bitter, and the lobster is unpleasantly chewy. The Fromage Fort is a too-small seasonal cheese dip. It’s tasty, but there’s not enough for the bread on the platter. More successful is the Raclette Burger, a larger-than-a-slider burger of grassfed beef, carmelized onion, Dijonnaise, and gooey Raclette on a sesame bun. It’s served with fries that are nothing short of addictive. You can get those same fries with the steak frites, a slightly-tough but deliciously seasoned sliced steak topped with enough arugula to make you feel virtuous for all those fries. The chicken liver mousse is something I wish they sold by the jar. You can spread it on the baguette slices, but you may be tempted to just run a finger through the rich brown scoop to save time. Truly outstanding is the Tarte Flambee, a flatbread-like crisp that is just a way to convey all those mushrooms, truffle, potato, onion, rosemary and goat cheese to your mouth.
In addition to the F&B crowd, the bar – crowded even mid-week – attracts everyone from young women shrieking in high-pitched glee over cocktails to furrow-browed businessmen leaning towards each other at the bar.
You can dine at Felix from 4pm – 10 pm Sunday-Thurday and 4 pm – 11 pm Friday and Saturday, and the bar is open late daily.