Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
Lincoln Room: Honest Mussels At Midnight
“There’s only one other place I know in the Gaslamp with a deal like here when it comes to mussels,” said this guy at the stool next to mine at Dobson’s (956 Broadway Circle, 619-696-0398). “It’s the Lincoln Room. Fourth and E. They do them till midnight, for sure. Five bucks.”
I’m remembering this at, well, just about midnight, down here in the Gaslamp. Most places are putting up the shutters. But not this dark loggy place at 4th and E.
The Lincoln Room (901 4th Avenue, 619-696-8888) doesn’t look much on the outside, but inside it’s like a big old barn with a still, back in Lincoln’s days. Split log walls, hanging storm lanterns, a bar counter made up en-tirely of pennies, and five big log fires burning.
OK, five big screens, each showing a log fire burning.
“Got five minutes of kitchen left,” says Aaron the barkeep.
Lord. Suddenly see they have a ton of good things for $5 on their happy hour menu. Chili dog with fries, chicken liver paté, 1/3lb angus burger, half-pound of peel and eat shrimp…
But no time to dither now. I go for the mussels – “steamed with cherry tomatoes, shallots, white wine, and focaccia.”
Small shock: Beers are only on happy hour at this time on Wednesdays. It’s just happy hour food every night till close. My bottle of Miller Lite costs as much as the mussels. Five buckeroos.
But it only takes a couple of minutes for Solomon the server to come out of the kitchen with my eats.
The mussels are good. Not great, but nice, squelchy and savory, specially with the two garlicky cheese bread slices that come with it.
And seems like they have a steady late-night crowd here. “We’ve only been open this past year,” Aaron says. “A lot of people come after they’ve been to other places in the gaslamp.”
Okay, so this wouldn’t count as a full meal, but it’s a good gap-stopper. If you can resist the beer, you’ve got a good deal. Specially for the Gaslamp.
I take a glance up at Abe, there on the log wall.
So far, I’d say he’s keeping them honest.