There's nothing conceptually awry with Kask (1215 SW Alder St., 241-7163), the back-alley companion to westside Alpine chateau Grüner. The decor is salvaged classroom, with a blackboard above tiny wooden folding chairs. The charcuterie and cheese plates are smartly chosen and presented, with the Mexican queso slice paired with blueberries, pretzel bread and jam. The drinks are canny variants on classic cocktails—the Black Lodge ($10) is essentially a Perfect Manhattan on one very large rock, with splashes of cherry and artichoke liqueur. But the tab is higher than any of this would seem to justify: at least $30 for drinks and salami. That leaves a sour aftertaste to Kask—it's a nice, self-consciously downmarket place to get a fancy pre-dinner beverage, but you can't afford more than one round of austerity. It may be in the West End, but Kask is somehow a very East German experience.