Owner Dave Agazzi (former bartender at Yak-Zies
) opened this spot in the old Fixture location. He remodeled the place, but held onto Fixture's chef, who threw the original restaurant's overpriced small plates out the window and started from scratch with something a little more affordable.
You won't find any otter on the menu at this oddly named spot, but for $13.75 you can feast like one. The bar's signature dish, an eclectic combination of appetizers, includes calamari, Philly drops (cheesesteak-filled wontons), egg rolls, wings and chicken sate served with a plate full of dipping sauces. If you want something smaller, go for the crab cakes, quesadillas or pot stickers—Purple Otter has an exhaustive list of starters, all under $9.
A section of classically comforting sandwiches like grilled cheese, sloppy joe and roast beef also grace the menu, in addition to the more daring jambalaya: a cluster of chicken, bacon and sausage crammed into a cheddar-covered lobster roll. All sandwiches come with potatoes fried any way you like 'em; tater tots, waffle fries, steak fries or homemade chips. Agazzi will tell you he's all about the tater tots, but these potato-y pebbles are just like those frozen things you can pick up at your local Jewel and throw into the oven, zero effort required. Purple Otter's waffle fries, on the other hand, are not nearly as easy to scrounge up. These thick-cut slices hold just the right amount of seasoning and crispy crunch, while still maintaining their starchy soft middles.
Save room for dessert: homemade cinnamon donuts served with cider shooters, or the Otter's sweet twist on spring rolls (stuffed with sugary mango and bananas, fried and drizzled with coconut-chocolate ganache). Of course, no one's going blame you if you opt for a liquid dessert; it is after all, still a bar.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Stacy Warden