Kabuki - Happy Hour
November 5th, 2013
by: Maren Swanson
I recently headed to Hollywood to try a new happy hour: Kabuki. Sushi is one of my guilty pleasures and it's usually crazy expensive at certain places, so I was stoked to see if Kabuki could live up to its online reviews. Plus, I have worked with sushi and Japanese food for over 8 years, so I'm very knowledgeable about this particular style of food and preparation. Let me mention, if you go to the Hollywood area, be prepared for a parking sh*tshow. It's one of my biggest pet peeves and I'm always prepared to have change or cash for the valet, and if I do park at a meter, I have to put a timer on my phone because the parking attendants are no joke here.
We showed up at Kabuki at 5:30pm on a Friday (the happy hour ends at 6pm) and we were seated immediately. I love the fact that they offer their happy hour restaurant-wide and not just in specific areas, like the bar/lounge or patio only. The hostess gave us a booth and placed around 5 menus on the table and most of the dishes were paired with photos - sushi sensory overload. I know it’s meant to be helpful and it’s great that Kabuki has a lot of options but it became distracting.
Luckily, our server guided us through the happy hour options and that’s when I started to really get excited. I could order a “Ka-bomb” (large 22oz Kirin beer and small hot sake) for only $6.95! Now I understood why my friend insisted we come here. Not only was the beer and sake cheap, but they also had a ton of other happy hour drink options including saketinis, mojitos and sake sangrias. Wine by the glass goes for $3.50.
Since we had arrived at Kabuki a half hour before they closed, we threw in a bunch of orders. Hey, at least we weren’t that annoying table that shows up 5 minutes before happy hour ends, acting like we have a life-threatening ailment that had to be cured before the clock stroked 6pm.
A few of the dishes we tried had spicy tuna: the Spicy Tuna Salad, the Firecracker (spicy tuna mixed with chopped tomato and server with fried egg roll chips) and the Rose Roll (shrimp tempura, avocado, spicy tuna). I didn’t love the chopped tomatoes in their spicy tuna; it tasted like it was meant to be a filler ingredient and didn’t add to the flavor of the spicy tuna. Therefore, the sashimi salad received an average score for me. I did enjoy the Rose Roll though, and the order of salmon sushi I tried was fresh and tasty. We did veer from the happy hour menu a bit and tried their Yellowtail Carpaccio and lobster Roll. Both of them were great.
An hour into our meal, a nearby fiasco occurred. A young man (apparently it was his birthday) got very sick and made a disgusting display of intoxication at the other end of the restaurant (I’m withholding some very graphic details). A lot of people were completely grossed out and left. Word to the wise, the happy hour drink deals at Kabuki are fantastic, but leave your “forever 21” mentality at the door – the rest of us would really like to enjoy our meal please.
Overall, I really enjoyed experience at Kabuki, especially the attentive service. Some of the food quality isn’t as top notch as I’ve had at other spots, but the portion sizes are the prices are just right. If you want some better options, check out some of the regular menu items. Kanpai!
1545 Vine St.
Hollywood, CA 90028
Happy Hour: Monday – Friday, 3pm – 6pm
$1.95 - $19.50 Drink Specials; $2.95 - $6.95 Food Specials
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