Tonight Ela chef-owner Jason Cinchonski will debut Happy Hour His Way, a new (almost) nightly deal on drinks and a special, new menu of bar snacks to go with them. One particular item, Cichonski’s cheeseburger, will be available only in short supply. It’s a house-ground beef patty that sits atop a house-baked black sesame bun and topped with a bourbon-soy fried shiitake mushroom jam, aged Cabbot cheddar and a secret sauce that he said is wrought from smoked pickles, and, “like, 400,000 other ingredients.” And he’s only making ten of them a night! Not so much to keep a ravenous crowd always at the ready for a chance to gobble up the elusive burger, but rather to ensure that all the ingredients are as fresh as possible. “The black sesame buns I’m baking right before happy hour starts, so they’re never more than, like, an hour out of the oven,” Cichonski told Grub Street. “And I don’t want to get in the habit of keeping a large inventory of burgers in.”
Also on the menu are preserved sardines with apples, grilled onions, sherry vinegar and a big crusty piece of toast; puffed oyster crackers made with an oyster dough that’s puffed up and served with an Old Bay mayonnaise; and the aforementioned burger. He’s also making tater tots, a snack he and his kitchen crew came up with one night while trying to repurpose a surplus of gnocchi.
For drinks, Ela’s offering $3 draught beers; $5 wines, with a daily-changing white and red available; and $6 daily cocktail specials, such as Daisy, Hendrick’s gin, rhuby, cucumbers and lemon, as well as Last Chance to Lose Your Keys, tequila, rosemary, kaffir lime, St. Germaine and citrus fruit.
“We have this huge-ass bar in the restaurant and we’re just trying to utilize it a little bit better,” Cichonski added. “A lot of neighborhood people have been asking me whether or not I was ever going to do a happy hour. I figured I’d put something together where we could have fun doing bar food my way.”
Ela’s Happy hour runs Tuesdays through Fridays and Sundays, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.