Put it in your mouth

Where do college students eat late at night? Well, if you’re in Northwest you can visit Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, a dive bar or class it up a little and step out to the Ringside.

Lately, eating at the Ringside during its “reverse” happy hour, nightly from 9:45 p.m. to close, has become some kind of tradition with my friends. With a menu that offers eleven tasty steakhouse options for $2.25 there is little reason not to visit this cozy Portland landmark.

The atmosphere in the Ringside’s dimly-lit bar is classic and warm, and the sunken wooden bar encasing their professional barman adds to the snug feeling. The walls are speckled with depictions of monumental events in sports history, photos of legendary icons, autographed boxing gloves and menus.

(But let me tell you something about restaurant memorabilia: a buddy of mine works at a certain undisclosed restaurant downtown, and he told me that the manager just buys the pictures and signs them himself! Yeah, I was appalled too! Anyway, back to Ringside, which I’m sure does not partake in such deceptive practices.)

Every time I visit Ringside, the service is great. And I have to admit that it’s fun to see all the professional waiters running around in tuxedos … real uptown, you know? The last night I was in I discovered, much to my disappointment, that they had removed their hot fudge sundae (my favorite) from the happy hour menu. I was sad. Although, happily, our waiter (sensing my dejection) went over and above his call to duty to lift my weary spirits and pretended like it was my birthday. Not only did I get my sundae, it was free too. I had to sit through a poorly-tuned chorus of “Happy Birthday” from my six stupid friends.

There is not a lot of food to choose from, and vegetarians beware, but in my opinion there is no place better to get your eat on for cheap. They have steak bites, fish bites, a ground steak burger, prime rib, buffalo wings, red-hot chili poppers, cheese and garlic bread, fried oysters, oyster shooters (which freak me out, by the way), Caesar salad and popcorn shrimp.

I love the steak bites and the chili poppers. The prime rib is pretty tasty, too. I tried the fried oysters only because my friend ordered them. Oysters are just disgusting, dirty little lumps of disease ridden shellfish. Although, Ringside’s oysters are no worse than any other oyster I have tasted, so, if you like them, go right ahead.

Also, Ringside offers a three-course meal for $25 during happy hour. This is a really great deal for what you get, and it’s a good way to impress the ladies without breaking the bank.

As far as happy hour goes, the Ringside does have a unique niche. By offering their cheap eats later than most restaurants in the area, Ringside presents itself as a fine place to get some pretty good food for really cheap. So if you’re ever in the mood for a lot of food in a cozy atmosphere with great service, go to Ringside. I put it in my mouth all the time.