Inconspicuously located above Bistro 31 in Highland Park Village, Lounge 31 welcomes people looking for a classy, comfortable afternoon hangout. Seating is a mix of couches, ottomans, bar stools and regular tables, letting you choose to dine comfortably or kick back and relax with a drink. Air-conditioned rooms provide refuge from the August heat, but the breezy patio would be pleasant with cooler weather. This Lombardi concept offers one of the best by-the-glass Champagne selections in DFW, a solid wine and beer list and intriguing cocktails. For food, choose from Japanese appetizers, sashimi, sushi rolls and oysters. From 4-7 p.m. daily and all day Sunday, you can order select half-price sushi rolls and light bites from their happy hour menu. Unfortunately, no drinks are discounted, so be prepared to pay a pretty penny for a glass of Champagne or specialty cocktail.
For those looking for unusual sushi, the “Lounge 31” roll is an interesting twist on a rainbow roll. Crab and avocado are wrapped in rice and topped with salmon, tuna, yellowtail and the magic ingredient: tempura bacon. The roll is drizzled in ponzu and garnished with green onions. The flavors come in stages: first, a crisp taste of onion and citrus, then the richness of the fish, and finally the smoky crunch from the bacon. The bacon lends weightiness to this roll, making five pieces a satisfying amount. For $8 during happy hour it’s an experience worth having.
If you aren’t a sushi fan but still want to enjoy happy hour here, try the fried shishito peppers. They’re salted and very lightly battered, adding texture without being oily. They have a mild heat, easily quenched by a glass of wine. A squeeze of lemon complements the peppers’ sweet-hot flavor.
On top of the delicious food, the service was outstanding. Despite the crowd, the waitress was attentive, taking my order quickly and keeping my glass full. Next time you want a place to unwind after work or meet friends for a drink and a snack, head to Lounge 31. Sink into a couch, order a glass of Champagne, and enjoy the tempura bacon sushi.
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Lounge 31, 87 Highland Park Village #200, Dallas, TX 75205, (214) 420-3900. Lounge 31 roll: $8, fried shishito peppers: $3 (happy hour pricing).