Sunday, August 03, 2008

Hapa Izakaya

While I was out in Vancouver during the summer someone recommended this little restaurant, I REALLY enjoyed myself and wanted to put my thoughts out there for everyone else.

Their website is still under construction (currently just addresses and phone numbers).

I dined at the following location:
1479 Robson St, Vancouver
Tel: 604-689-4272

When we arrived (we walked from our hotel), we were greeted immediately at the open front door. Once inside the greeter said something in Japanese and all the staff in sight welcomed us (as they did for everyone that came in while we were there). To some this may seem obnoxious but it really wasn't. We were promptly given the choice of a 'normal' (North American) table or a more Asian table (you take your shoes off and put them on a shelf, sit at a low table with room for your legs to dangle). We chose an Asian table (as we would have had to wait for normal table.

We'd previously gone out for Sushi at another place so we tried for the same Sake*. Unfortunately they didn't have it but suggested another cold unfiltered sake that was pretty good (Pearl Momokaw).

After reviewing the menu we decided on the following:

Kimchi - Pickled Spicey Cabage

The co-worker I was out with suggested this, it was interesting and I ate more that I expected when it was first described to me. I don't think it's something I'd eat all the time but a few times a year when I'm traveling, definitely.

Yaki Udon - Thick Noodles

This was a really tasty Udon with pork and veggies, if you enjoy noodle dishes I'd definately recommend this.

Bintoro - Grilled Tuna w/ Mustard Seed Sauce

If you don't like Sushi/Sashimi then you probably won't enjoy this. The tuna is grilled but very rare. I thought it was really tasty, and the Mustard Seed sauce was prepared perfectly (not too hot not too mild).

Ishi-Yaki - Hot Stone Bowl cooked rice, egg, pork, scalions, etc.

This was really cool, they bring out a stone bowl that's been headed in the oven (or whatever) filled with steaming rice, etc and mix it up table-side. You wait a few mins for the egg and stuff to cook then dig in.

Kakuni - Steamed Pork Buns

We expected this to be kind of traditional Chinese style steamed BBQ pork buns (well maybe what I'm used to isn't actually "traditional", but there is definitely an expectation of Pork buns that I've seen from restaurants in North America). We were wrong, it came as an assemble your own kind of thing. A few big chunks of pork in a very nice sauce, cooked nice and tender. With a steamed bun that looked more like a pita which you folded like a taco and loaded up with pork. The people next to us seemed to enjoy it more than we did, the buns we received were actually a little tough. (I'd go for the pork without the buns next time :) )

Kabocha - Whipped Japanese Pumpkin with Whipped Cream and Melba Toasts.

This item was on the appetizer menu but once we saw it we saved it for desert. It was very tasty with just the right amount of sweet vs savory.

* For anyone that is keeping score the sake we'd had at our sushi dinner was Hakutsuru Sayuri Sake. It's an unfiltered Nigori Sake which is meant to be served cold (Nigori is generally the sweetest of all sakes). I just checked quickly and it is available from the LCBO.

Update: 2011-Apr-12. Adding UrbanSpoon "Spoonback". Updated a few URLs.

Hapa Izakaya (Robson) on Urbanspoon

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