The vaguely Germanic Slide Inn (2348 SE Ankeny St., 236-4997, is an ambitious restaurant. It's also an abject failure: Fried polenta is a flavorless crunch coated in a discordantly sweet, purplish marinara that tastes like rotten strawberries; curried tofu sausage is mostly brown rice and carrot and comes on a pile of unseasoned purple cabbage; veggie tempura is coated in thick, hard and salty batter that more closely resembles the dregs from the bottom of a Long John Silver's fryer. Almost all of the Slide Inn's plate-shaped land mines are best avoided. This is true even at happy hour, when those dishes run $4 to $5. And even on Monday and Tuesday, when happy hour lasts all night. As a bar, though, you can do a lot worse than this little inn on the border of the Buckman and Kerns neighborhoods. The wait staff is friendly, local pints run $3.50 and a nice selection of German imports (Bayreuther Kellerbier, Spaten Optimator, Veltins Pilsner) runs $4 at happy hour. There's great people-watching along the Southeast Ankeny Street bike corridor, and a post-rock band practicing across the street provides a nice Monday night soundtrack for the patio tables. One small corner of gustatory refuge: sauteed spätzle ($6), a large pile of supple egg noodles with caramelized onions, salty Swiss cheese and little chunks of smoked and salt-cured speck. It's not exciting, but it's safe. Here, safe is good.

Clarification: The above photo is from the adjoining Jade Lounge. Jade Lounge has the same ownership as Slide Inn, but is a different space. The two bars have an overlapping, but not identical, menus. Food items mentioned in this review are available at both. WW regrets any confusion.