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Ali Carte
Ali Carte

Oh, happy day

By Ali Resich Photos By Nathalie Walker
March 1, 2015

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After a long day at work, there’s nothing quite like meeting up with some friends, grabbing a drink and gradually letting go of the day’s worries with each outburst of laughter. Even better is when you add a handful of pupus to the mix, maybe even a light meal, and the total price comes out to much less than what you’d expect to pay for such a satisfying experience. Let me tell you, the restaurant industry doesn’t call it happy hour for nothing!

At Ichiriki Japanese Nabe Restaurant, Oahu’s premier destination for sizzling Japanese fare and traditional hot pots since 2006, the happy hour menu is undergoing a revamp that will surely keep the good times rolling.

With locations in Honolulu, Aiea and Kaneohe, Ichiriki first introduced a happy hour menu to its lineup three years ago. The joyous eats have been flowing in the form of appetizers, beers, wines, cocktails and discounted shabu shabu options ever since.

“We wanted to make a specific menu for people who do come in early, to give them something worth their time — appetizers, drinks, etc.,” says Andrew Doi, general manager of the Kaneohe branch. “It’s been working really well. People enjoy it and come in all the time just for this.”

In addition to the staple happy hour nabe, 5-ounce Kobe Shabu Shabu, customers will now have another hot pot dish to savor during March: Pork and Shortrib Shabu Shabu ($16.95 happy hour, $21.95 regular). With the broth of your choice, simmer pork shoulder, beef short rib and an array of vegetables and tofu to comforting perfection.

Three of the restaurant’s must-have pupus from the regular menu are making their happy hour debut as well. Zingy and full-flavored Pork Kimchi ($9.95 regular, $5.50 happy hour) presents thinly sliced kurobuta pork sauteed with sesame oil and kimchi, while Fried Garlic Shrimp ($7.95 regular, $5.50 happy hour) offers up battered and deep-fried bites of seafood tossed in house sesame mayo and sprinkled with crispy garlic chips. Lastly, vegetarian-friendly appetizer Mushroom Medley ($6.95 regular, $4.50 happy hour) joins in with fresh, seasonal shimeji mushrooms sauteed with butter and shoyu and topped with green onion.

Let’s not forget about an essential part of any happy hour — slurping up beverages! Ichiriki’s Shochu cocktails are priced at $4 for regular glasses and $7 for party glasses (regularly $6 and $9.95, respectively) during the daily special. Be sure to try light and sprightly White Peach, Lychee and Green Apple flavors.

Various thirst-quenching beers also are available, and patrons who visit the Kaneohe location may delight in two additional brews: Kona Brewing Company’s Kona Longboard and Goose Island Beer Company’s 312 Urban Wheat Ale ($4.95 regular, $2.50 happy hour). Stop in to the Windward eatery and get happy from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. to last call daily.

Ichiriki Japanese Nabe Restaurant

Kaneohe Bay Shopping Center
46-047 Kamehameha Hwy. (and two other locations)
236-2299
Lunch daily, 11 a.m.4 p.m.
Dinner from 4 p.m. daily, Sunday-Thursday, last seating at 10 p.m., last call at 10:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday, last seating at 11 p.m., last call at 11:30 p.m.
Happy hour: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and 9 p.m.-last call (hours may vary by location)