1516 Yew Street
Locavore approved? Yes (all thanks to the Fresh Sheet!)
My husband has been trying to get me to Hapa Iazkaya for a while now. He has been there multiple times with his work buddies and has come home raving about the food. So on a nice Friday night in July, we decided to head out to snag a table on the patio at their Kits location.
Unfortunately, the seats on the patio were all taken so we settled for a table inside since we were both too hungry (and too tired after a long week!) to wait. Although some may find the atmosphere attractive, I was not a bit fan of the loud, “clubby” setting. I felt like I was back in undergrad all over again. It is certainly not the place to go if you are wanting to have an intimate dinner.
Although the atmosphere was not quite my style, our server was very friendly and was great at helping us choose out dishes. We both ordered 1 dish to share and 2 dishes each which was more than enough, especially if you choose to order the rice bowls like we did. The servers were very energetic and enthusiastic which fit well with the restaurant’s vibe.
I appreciated the fact that they have two menus- their regular menu and a seasonal menu (the "Fresh Sheet") that included dishes with summer ingredients.
We started off sharing the tuna avocado salsa dip served with plantain chips for dipping. The server mixes the ingredients of the dip tableside, which is a nice touch. This ended up being my favorite dish. So simple yet so fresh, and the tuna added a nice textural contrast. The plantain chips were a nice change from predictable tortilla chips.
Next, I had the Goma-ae from the Fresh Sheet. It was composed of bok-choy and crisp green beans, and was topped in a snappy peanut-based dressing. Again,simple ingredients prepared confidently.
My husband had wagu beef, which was served raw alongside a hot rock that you could sear the beef on yourself. It was served with a nice ponzu sauce and some garlic chips. Kinda fun and my husband enjoyed it.
For our last dishes, we each had a rice bowl that came served in a hot stone bowl. I opted for the vegetarian mushroom and seaweed version (Kinoko Meshi) while my husband had the Ishi-Yaki, which had pork and a egg on top that were mixed into the rice tableside by the server. If you a mushroom fan like I am, you will love the diverse selection of mushroom in the vegetarian version. My husband loved the texture that the runny egg gave to his bowl. In both versions, the rice was nice and crispy around the edges. Although you could easily share this dish, I was glad to have one for myself and happily polished off every last bite. When I got down to the bottom, there was no way I could leave the last bits of charred rice behind!
Overall, I was pretty impressed with the food at Hapa and thought the value was very good (only 60 bucks for both of us, no alcohol). While the atmosphere doesn’t quite do it for me, I would gladly return here anytime for the food. It is not a date night place but is a fun place to unwind after a long week.
I can see this becoming a new Friday night favorite for my husband and I. Hope to snag a coveted patio table on our next visit!