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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happy Hour at Basso: A Basement Italian Gastropub Worth Retreating To

Posted By on Wed, May 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Beet fusilli with sliced steak and horseradish ricotta. | Photos by Mabel Suen
  • Beet fusilli with sliced steak and horseradish ricotta. | Photos by Mabel Suen

The Place: Basso (7036 Clayton Avenue; 314-932-7820)

The Hours: Happy hour is offered Monday through Saturday from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

The Deal: $7 build-your-own pizzas, two-for-one antipasti, $3 craft-beer pints, $6 half-pint beer flights, $5 Italian wine of the day and $6 specialty cocktails.

The open kitchen.
  • The open kitchen.

The Scene: Basso opened in December 2012 and occupies the lower level below the Restaurant at the Cheshire. Down a curved flight of green-hued steps, patrons will find themselves in a cozy basement lair that houses an open kitchen with a wood-burning pizza oven, a large glistening bar, and comfy booths and tables lit by flickering gas lamps.

Flat-screen TVs subtly broadcast the game over the several taps at the bar, and diners have several options for seating -- go it alone at a tall pub table, convene with a group in a communal-table setting or opt for a private booth for a quieter experience.

Pizza with calabrese, white sauce and banana peppers.
  • Pizza with calabrese, white sauce and banana peppers.

The Food: Chef Patrick Connolly heads the menu at this modern American-Italian gastropub, which received high marks from former RFT food critic Ian Froeb in 2013. The happy-hour menu features a nice introduction to the full menu, complete with customizable two-topping Neapolitan-style pizzas -- choose from red or white sauce and a dozen topping options including sausage, calabrese and shrimp sausage atop a delightfully crisp crust.

Two-for-one small-plate options include the following: curried orzo, beet fusilli, eggplant caponata, shishito peppers, marinated olives, tomato and citrus, and bruleed chicken liver. These dishes come perfectly proportioned for sharing -- if that's your style.

Did Basso make the grade? Find out on the next page.

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