Several months prior, I purchased a Groupon voucher for the Kits location of Hapa Izakaya, and I was running out of time to use it.

We arrived on a Saturday evening, and it was a most full house, we were seated at the bar.  This is a lively and vibrant place (i.e. loud music, plus a packed house, plus the frequent chorus of “Irashai!” from the staff…..means no quiet conversation possible). 

Perusing the regular menu and the feature fresh sheet, we ordered and started with chicken karaage.

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These are modest morsels of chicken, marinaded in soy, ginger and garlic, dredged and deep fried to a delicate crisp.  It was served with a small dish of aioli.  This was pretty good.

Next was the halibut croquettes

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This is minced halibut, mixed with seasoned mashed potato, rolled in fine panko and deep fried to light crisp, garnished with microgreens  There was a fresh tartar sauce served with it.   I’m not sure what I expected.  I wanted to like this more than I actually did.  It tasted pretty good, but I guess I wanted something more.  Not sure what would have done it for me, maybe a bolder crunch.

Next grilled misoyaki black cod

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This is black cod, marinaded in miso,  grilled lightly and served with roasted carrots, green beans, a crisp fried taro root, and a dollop of ponzu infused aioli.  This was really good.  The fish was delicate, moist and flaky, with a sweet salty flavor from the marinade.

Lastly came the grilled beef short rib

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This is beef short rib, cut thin across the bone, marinated in soy, sugar, sesame oil, and asian pear juice, grilled lightly and garnished with minced scallions, and julienned red onions.  This was pretty good, although I felt there are better examples of this elsewhere.  The flavor was right, and the grilling was handled very well, but it wasn’t quite as tender as I expect… 

Hapa Izakaya is a great place to kick back with friends over drinks and some good hot food, but it’s a little on the pricey side as the food goes.  Not including the groupon voucher or the tip, this meal was about $45.

The room is a bit dark (alot of black furnishings and finish), and its definitely a party atmosphere.

The servers are quite attentive and courteous, if somewhat reserved (if you ask them for recommendations, they’ll be happy to oblige, but they don’t seem to offer any without prompting).

Hapa Izakaya on Urbanspoon

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