Hours: 5 p.m. to close, Monday through Saturday
Happy Hour: 5 to 7 p.m., Monday
Category: Fine/Trendy Dining
Location: 215 Main St. Pullman Downtown
Pullman is quickly turning into a gourmand’s paradise. While our rivals in Seattle may taunt us with their spice shops and coffee capital status, we can smile to ourselves knowing that when it comes to delicious food at reasonable prices, Pullman has them beat.
The opening of Black Cypress in the heart of Pullman is perfect evidence of this. The suave sanctuary caters to the sophisticated without stretching the pocket book.
Owner Nikiforos (Nick) Pitsilionis transformed the open and airy spot at 215 Main Street into an intimate setting; burlap sails shroud the ceiling, antique mirrors decorate the walls and exposed light bulbs reminiscent of Nikkolai Tesla illuminate the surroundings. Walking into the foyer I got the feeling that I had left Pullman altogether and was coming to join a tête-à-tête with the Vienna Circle.
Aside from the décor, the first impression I received on opening the door was the earthy aroma of freshly smoked bacon. Black Cypress has joined the farm-to-table movement, which, while popular in large metropoliseslike D.C., makes more sense in a farming community like Pullman. The bacon that was being freshly smoked came from a hog raised on the WSU campus itself. It smelled so good I took home 1.5 pounds to make breakfast for my visiting family. This bacon made all other bacon seem inferior. Comparing it to store-bought bacon seems unfair; it’s like comparing Tang with fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Upon being seated I was presented with a cocktail menu. I have only sampled the wares from two bartenders in the world who out perform Black Cypress’s mixology-- Le Crocodile in Paris, France and Point Five-Nine in Point Chevalier, New Zealand. Cory Preston, bartender at Black Cypress, takes the bronze medal. His dedication to the craft of drink-making is astounding. My two personal favorites there are the “Aztec Avery” and the “Whiskey Sour.” Like the bacon, comparing this whiskey sour to any others in unfair; this is what Mrs. T’s whiskey sour dreams to be when it grows up.
While the drinks are delicious, they are not cheap. Ranging from $7 to $8, the prices are reminiscent of a larger town. However, you definitely get what you pay for, and considering the fact that poorly-made mixed drinks can be acquired across the street for only fifty-cents less, the quality to price ratio make the drinks more than worth it.
Mondays from 5 to 7 p.m. is happy hour. All regular-menu appetizers are half price, and with selections varying from steamed clams to a Cypriot sandwich, it’s easy to fill up on gourmet food for cheap. Unfortunately, there are no drink specials during happy hour. It would be nice to see Cypress knock $1 off draft beers, and $1 off the cocktails, since it is hard to be truly happy without a drink in hand.
The dinner menu at Cypress is unique and inventive, with specials changing nightly. The pasta is a great value, at $11 to $14—my favorite is the Kima—and the meat-tastic entrées are mouth wateringly good, although a bit pricier hovering around $20. For vegetarians there is also an excellent grilled tofu.
Black Cypress is definitely a place to take your mother on Mom’s Weekend. She will love the food and atmosphere, and possibly enjoy flirting with the waiters, too. The service there is personal and impeccable, without being overbearing. The servers are prompt, helpful and friendly—exactly how a server should be.
Do not skip on dessert here, whatever you do. I am currently obsessed with their goat cheese panne cotta. The desserts change nightly, so it’s never certain what they’ll offer, but I guarantee it will be good.
Overall, Black Cypress gets an A. I would love to see drinks included on the Happy Hour menu, and one or two more vegetarian items. If they did this they would definitely get an A+. Aside from these minor suggestions, I just hope they continue doing what they’re doing, and keep inventing new and exciting dishes.