Have you ever been to Cipollina for happy hour? It’s a good option for those who get out of work a few minutes early, since it’s only from 5pm to 6pm. The offerings are simple yet elegant, and the Clarksville neighborhood bistro is tastefully decorated. When Mr. Betty and I both found ourselves unencumbered by work early on a Friday afternoon, it was the perfect time to head over.
The only specials for happy hour are half price small plates and glasses of sparkling wine. I had a French rosé and Mr. Betty had a beer. He just doesn’t go for anything sparkling…other than my eyes.
From the small plates we started with the PEI Mussels. (That’s Prince Edward Island, in case you didn’t know.) They were sautéed with white wine, anchovies, capers and anchovies and served with crusty bread. At the happy hour price of $6.50 for a big bowl, this is a hell of a deal. The strong broth ingredients were perfect with the brininess of the mussels. Definitely a must if you go.
We also tried the Smoked Chicken Wings from the small plates menu. Instead of buffalo sauce, they use harissa, a spicy red pepper paste from Northern Africa. The wings were tender and falling off the bone although I was not a fan of the bleu cheese vinaigrette already on the wings. It killed the heat and made them very messy to eat. The highlight of this dish was the salad of pickled vegetables served on the side. This dish was only $4 at happy hour.
Other happy hour dishes include cheese and charcuterie plates, oysters, octopus and salad. But we wanted to indulge in a wood-fired gourmet pizza, which is what Cipollina is best known for.
These used to be half price for happy hour, but they stopped doing that about a year ago. We tried the Kale Pizza which comes with Kalamata tapenade, lemon ricotta, confit garlic and fresh mozzarella. Though small for $14, this pizza is incredible. Delightfully salty and savory, it’s an amazing blend of strong flavors and I’d definitely order it again.
Even those staunchly opposed to kale would like this. The crust was thin and charred, and replacing tomato sauce with tapenade is genius. This pizza is a star.
Do you have any favorite dishes at Cipollina?