Tickle Taste Buds During The Happiest Of Hours

Inside Feature

January 6, 2019

Story By: Elima Pangorang | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

The chef handles the tasty yakitori sticks with care.

We all have our ideal spot to enjoy happy hour at, and have even ventured out and tried other places, too. But as you sit there consuming your go-to drink and pupus, have you ever thought where the term “happy hour” originates?

The two most popular references take us back to World War I and the 1920s prohibition era. Out at sea for seemingly endless months at a time, sailors aboard U.S. Navy ships needed an “out.” This was achieved through an organized entertainment period (their “happy hour”) of boxing and wrestling matches. Then during America’s prohibition, folks would hide out at speakeasy clubs for a few drinks before heading to the public restaurant for dinner. Here, “happy hour” was a euphemism.

Yakitori selections are grilled to perfection over charcoal.

Now, here we are in the 21st century and while the phrase took on a little bit of a transformation, its concept is fairly consistent. Combining the act of letting off some steam like the sailors, taking in a little time of retreat before heading home or to dinner, and — bringing it to our current pop-culture ways — soaking in time with friends and family while getting some killer deals, have all resulted in several establishments offering all kinds of happy hour specials.

Among the sea of restaurants offering jolly times is Japanese Restaurant Aki. With the new year in full effect, Restaurant Aki has introduced “Aki’s Happiest Hour” at a new time with deals that will keep customers coming back for more. With nearly three-dozen food and drink items to choose from it can be a little difficult finding a place to start.

JP Style Omelette ($5.50 happy hour)

To make things easier, Dining Out tried out a few items to kick-start your merriment hour(s). Taking a bite out of a variety of selections, the lineup included tastes of the ocean and land.

JP Style Omelette ($5.50), Agedashi Tofu ($6.50), and 3 Kinds of Oden ($4.50, hand picked by chef) were nice, subtle options, providing a sort of soothing comfort, especially apparent in the agedashi and oden Japanese broths.

5 Kinds of Sushi ($12.50 happy hour)

“Oden is simmered vegetables or fish cake (or other light sides),” says manager Eric Rogers. “In this combination is konyaku, egg and radish.”

The omelette has a hint of sweetness that complements its savoriness.

“When we mix the egg we add Japanese soy sauce, mirin and broth. Then it’s fried, rolled and cut,” shares Rogers.

Shrimp Tempura Roll ($7 happy hour)

However, the star of the show, Rogers divulges, is 3 Kinds of Yakitori ($5.50, hand picked by chef). Grilled fresh in view from every seat in the house, Rogers prepares the coal each morning so that it is hot and ready to go by 4 p.m. He then entertains customers through the likes of his grilling skills in exciting sight and taste.

Sushi lovers will surely be satisfied when diving into 5 Kinds of Sushi ($12.50, hand picked by chef) and Shrimp Tempura Roll ($7).

“The fish for the sushi is local and Japanese. The fish from Japan is shipped fresh from the Haneda airport,” Rogers mentions. Tender and easy to eat, the fish on the sushi exudes a seafood taste that’s not too overwhelming, providing refreshment and clean eating.

3 Kinds of Oden ($4.50 happy hour)

Shrimp Tempura is a nice opposite to the nigiri pieces, in that diners can enjoy its big crunch with a teriyaki-like drizzle.

Drink specials include five categories with Beer, Shochu High Ball and Others (like Skyy Vodka and Choya) coming in at $4, while Japanese Sake and Wines are $8 and $6, respectively, per glass.

Agedashi Tofu ($6.50 happy hour)

These treats are just the beginning, so there’s no telling what diners will come across during their experience at this charming spot. Whether it is a new taste bud pleaser or a delectable sipper, there’s so much to discover with the help of Restaurant

Aki’s polite and helpful staff members from the front of the house to the back.

Honolulu, HI 96816

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best