Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 27th
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Cypress Lounge

While the outside patio was relatively empty, inside, cacophonous conversation of after-work minglers joined rollicking strains of live music. Friends lounged on grey sofas or gathered around tall café tables. Energetic, charming servers darted between the kitchen and customers.

The menu includes salads, burgers, tri-tip sandwiches, entrees, dessert, and an extensive appetizer selection. Creamy hummus is served with pita bread, and fresh tortilla chips carry spicy guacamole. We selected a seat at one of the three semi-circular booths near the bar. Since we arrived before 7 p.m., appetizers were half-price and happy hour draft beer was just $2. Sweet potato fries (normally $6.95) were delivered promptly; piping hot and crisp with a side of deliciously powerful garlicky aioli. The Hades from Belmont’s Devil’s Canyon Brewery carried a hint of habañero, while their Scotch Ale was strong, dark and sweet.

The entrée’s accompanying dinner salad included leafy greens, carrots and sliced mushrooms with a side of brightly flavored rosemary-lemon vinaigrette.

The Salmon ($16.95) was served on its charcoal black plank, topped with a glaze of Dijon mustard and brown sugar. Smoke from its burning pedestal had infiltrated the fish with nuances of sweet cedar. Caramelized, sautéed vegetables joined creamy brown rice pilaf, redolent of garlic.

Cypress Lounge, 120 Union St., Santa Cruz, 459-9876. Full bar.
Serving dinner nightly, happy hour 5-7 p.m.

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