Sunday, May 31, 2009

HAPA Izakaya

Had dinner @ Hapa yesterday, celebrating friend's birthday.
This was my 3rd visit to HAPA. HAPA is in my top 3 list of a must try izakaya restaurant in Vancouver.

The interior is very modern compared to other izakaya restaurants. But I should say it looks more like a Western style lounge and does not really portray much Japanese. By saying that, the waiter, bartender and waitresses are mixed race too ( I think they are mix of half Caucasian and half Japanese ) . However, all the chefs are 100% Japanese.

They changed the menu a little bit. I can no longer find King Crab Roll in the menu and
some other dishes as well. This is good because it shows that they keep updating their menu from time to time. Their menu selection is to my honest opinion not too appealing. It did not give me a WOW factor unlike Kingyo.

Our first dish was Gobo chips.
It was a deep fried sliced burdock shops with sea salt
I was surprised they served gobo here as it is a really healthy vegetables.
However, gobo is not usually deep fried....which in my opinion makes this dish
not that healthy now.
The gobo chips are a lil chewy and crispy. You can't really tell it is a gobo at all.
The texture just very close to potato families.
Gobo Chips

Our second dish was Kaarage Jyan.
It was a deep-fried boneless chicken with a zesty soy-garlic sauce.
I love this dish. It is well seasoned, and the chicken was simply succulent.
The quantity was just perfect, enough for all of us...

This tender, juicy and succulent beef spare ribs was our third dish.
I can tell that they must have slowly cooked this spare ribs to perfection.
The texture is excellent and it was well seasoned.
TheJapanese demi-glace sauce compliments this mouth-watering dish, yumm!

The next dish was a lil suprise for me as I never seen a croquette to be served like this.
The presentation was so intriguing and they reminded me of takoyaki.
And without question, this dish was really fun to eat!
The croquette was well done. It contained some seafood which I could not really tell what they were as they were already finely grounded.

The dishes came out very fast. As a food photographer, it was kind of a
challenge for me especially when there was a number of hungry people
waiting impatiently for me to finish photoshooting. LOL
This AAA beef yakiniku was exquisite. Well-seasoned with garlic and salt.
The presentation was very appealing.

This was my favorite dish from my first visit to HAPA and it was still my favorite
in my third visit. It was a soy sauce base, sweet & spicy renkon lotus pizza.
The sweetness and spice were just perfect, not overly seasoned...which I enjoyed
so was really really good!

The next dish WOW-ed me. The presentation might be simple, but the
dish was very tasty! The sablefish was marinated with sake and miso and it was
baked to perfection ~ heavenly taste!
I have had many miso marinated black cod / sabelfish dishes from different restaurants
before..and HAPA's version just knocked them all out.

Talking about a big surprise, the next one is really made me jaw-dropped.
I never seen seafood motoyaki to be served like this. Seafood Motoyaki is usually
served in an oyster's shell.
HAPA's version contained snow crab leg, scallop, mushroom and potato.
And the miso mayo sauce just made this dish stood out even more!

I almost dropped out the next dish because the photo was out of focus.
By I decided to just leave it as it is.
Ishi-yaki is a Korean hot stone bowl cooking: rice, minced pork, flower chives, egg, tomato, lettuce and spicy miso combined in a hot stone bowl.
It was really surprising for HAPA to serve Korean dishes in a Japanese izakaya. But they did
twisted it to make it more like a Japanese dish by using miso.
This dish was pretty good, the flavor did not make me feel as if i was eating Bibimbap.

Can any dish be as much fun as this?
This dish reminded me of the exact same dish I had in Los Angeles's izakaya restaurant : Musha
I was really excited that they had it in HAPA !
Although the taste was very close with the one I had in Musha, I still prefer Musha's version over HAPA's version.

Our last dish was Mentaiko Udon.
The Udon was tossed in a spicy cod roe sauce and garnished with kimchi.
It was well-cooked; however, it was not as good as the one I had in Ebisu @ Robson.

Hapa Izakaya (Robson) on Urbanspoon


604foodtography said...

Your white balance is really off...looks so unnatural and blue.

La Petite Vancouver said...

Thanks for telling me, they are fixed now =)

shokutsu said...

Curious, what's your camera setup?

La Petite Vancouver said...

Nothing fancy, just dslr + speedlite =)

shokutsu said...

> Nothing fancy, just dslr + speedlite =)

Ah, thought I noticed a bit of light/flash on some images. What body/lens do you usually use for your food shots?

La Petite Vancouver said...

shokutsu : I am using Canon Rebel XS and 50mm f1.8 =) How about u?


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