My husband won an award at work. I told him we were going out to celebrate. He wanted Japanese, but not sushi. We both recently got food poisoning due to bad sushi, and ever since, we’ve been wary. Well, let’s see… there’s Hapa Izakaya, Ke Charcoal, Cerezeo, and Shokunin. L said he wanted to try Hapa, so off we went.
The interior inside Hapa is nice. Dark, high ceilings and plenty of sectional lounge seating. I noticed two large TV screens. Personally, I hate having having television screens around when I eat, but I’m sure it’s popular during hockey season.
We arrived at the tail end of happy hour. As it was Monday, all draft beer was $5.00. L ordered a Sapporo while I ordered a glass of the house white ($5.00). From the happy hour menu, we tried: Beef Tataki ($5), Negitoro ($5), Ebi Mayo, ($5) and the Spicy Pork Stone Bowl ($6).
The beef tataki was excellent. The beef was flavourful, cold and thinly sliced. The sesame chili sauce was spot on and the crisp red onions and garlic crunchy bits put this dish over the top. I would order this again in a heartbeat. Way better than Oiishi.
The negitoro in contrast to the beef tataki was awful. The tuna belly was mushy and covered in a weird spicy sauce. The garlic bread tasted like it was from Safeway.
The shrimp in the ebi mayo was tasty. The shrimp was crunchy and large, without a heavy fried batter. The sauce was more sweet than spicy, and it reminded me a bit of ketchup. I liked the Chinese style shrimp chips, which were fresh and crackled and then melted on my tongue.
Our server told us to wait five minutes for our spicy pork ishi-yaki rice to fry properly in its stone bowl before eating. He’s right. The last few bites were the best when the rice had time to caramelize. This dish was comforting and filling.
We were full at this point but L wanted to try the Chicken Karaage ($10). The chicken was super juicy and meaty. I noticed the batter was thin and soaked in a tasty soy ginger sauce. Hapa’s version is softer and not as crunchy as Gyoza King or Guu in Vancouver.
L and I would return to try some of the other dishes, like the ramen. One dish we would order even if it’s not happy hour would be the beef tataki. If you haven’t been to Hapa yet, I totally recommend going during happy hour. Four beers, a glass of wine and all that food cost about $60.00.