Carnivore's Dilemma: a meaty happy hour at Salut St. Paul

Salut Bar Américain - St. Paul
Frog Bar
917 Grand Ave., St. Paul

Hours and details:
Carnivore's Dilemma: Daily, 4 p.m. to close
$5 The Balls, slow-cooked beef rib, steak tartare, cordon bleu nuggets, sausage grinder, house-cured bacon sliders
$9.95-$13.95 Sandwiches and burgers
$14.95 Hangar steak, beef burgundy, roasted clams
Regular happy hour: Daily, 3-6 p.m.,
Friday and Saturday, 10 p.m.-midnight
$4 Well drinks
$4 Tap beers
$4 #1 wine (JP Chenet red or white)
$1.95 oysters
$3 pomme frites, pepperoni pizza, cheese pizza, pizza espagnole, artichoke pizza, truffled deviled eggs
$3 mini burgers ($1 for extra patty, bacon, cheddar or swiss)

The Frog Bar at the St. Paul Salut location on Grand Avenue recently unveiled a meatier menu to go with its existing happy hour. Is it worth your while or will it leave you saying, "Where's le boeuf?"

The pig presides over the bar.
The pig presides over the bar.

Venue: Salut in St. Paul has parking, a friendly vibe and the beautiful Frog Bar that greets you as you walk into the place. It's wooden and brown, with all the usual cheeky Parasole touches done Frenchie-style. The special deals are trumpeted on the wall, as well as in the collection of menus that get handed to you by an ultra-friendly hostess or server. Even in the afternoon, folks are there to have a good time and the long bar means there is plenty of room for conversation and chowing down amongst friends and strangers.

All the specials, even a cheese dinner...
All the specials, even a cheese dinner...

Verdict: The Carnivore's Dilemma runs from 4 p.m. daily with several apropos choices for $5 like "The Balls" (Moroccan-style meatballs), ribs, house-cured bacon sliders and steak tartare (Hot Dish liked the tartare, but could have used a bit more heat with it). There are also frog bar sandwiches, burgers and dinners for between $9.95 and $14.95, but they feel a bit more like full-on meal options. However, because the meaty bargains are paired with a regular happy hour that includes $3 mini burgers, truffled deviled eggs, pizza and pommes frites with Bernaise sauce (which were so delicious that the people next to me were on round three) -- it's pretty hard to complain. The only drawback is the limited number of drink specials, although a $4 tap beer or house red is fine to enhance your protein-induced coma.

Steak tartare with crostini, mustard and herb aioli
Steak tartare with crostini, mustard and herb aioli

The Frog Bar is perfect for a gang of your after-work compatriots, as everyone will find something to eat that suits them. And, with the new weekend late night happy hours, it might be your new last call stop -- where you can soak up the night's activities with a sausage grinder ($5) or some oysters ($1.95/each), or enjoy one of Salut's other meaty, French pleasures.

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