Friday, December 17, 2010

Chaya: (not really a) Happy Hour

I always knew that Chaya had a great happy hour. From what I remembered, food and drink options were pretty good and prices were very reasonable. When I heard that new chef Harutaka Kishi (London West Hollywood) was on board and had revamped the menu, I called up the restaurant to ask if they still had a happy hour. The hostess said Yes, and that happy hour ran till close. I was excited. What a great deal this must be, I so foolishly thought.

The fact is, Chaya doesn't really have a happy hour. They do have a separate menu (called La Petit Chaya) that they serve at the bar and patio. But there are no discounts on the menu during happy hour. That means you don't pay lower prices for that glass of wine if you sit at the bar at 6pm vs. having dinner in the dining room. Additionally, the prices don't really feel like happy hour prices (cobb salad at $13, meatballs at $12). I definitely don't feel like I'm getting a discount.

The dinner menu is no longer ala carte. Instead, Chef Kishi only offers two tasting menus- 3 courses ($39) and 5 courses ($65).

Aside from the non-discounted happy hour prices, the La Petit Chaya menu isn't too shabby. It's really an upscale bar menu with a few sushi options, small plates and a limited selection of entrees.

If there aren't any deep discounts on drinks, I might as well splurge on a glass of Champagne. They also have a strong beer list which includes Chimay, Duvel, Fat Fire, Guinness, Red Seal and La Fin du Monde.

Foie Gras and Chicken Parfait with Yuzu Jelly
This isn't your everyday bar grub but this is definitely right up my alley. The foie gras and chicken parfait was silky and light. It also had a rather mild liver flavor so most people would probably appreciate it. The brioche was buttery and toasted to a nice crispiness. I thought this was worth the $11.

Crunchy Shrimp Roll
This was probably the "best deal" on the menu at $5. The sushi was standard and didn't stray from what you would find at a Japanese joint. I appreciated that the tempura shrimp was cooked to order so it was warm and crispy when served.

Pommes Frite with fried shallot, garlic ($7)
I thought the portion was generous and the fries were crisp and well seasoned.

So yes, it's not the most ideal happy hour place if you are looking for a discounted deal. Most dishes were around $10 except for a couple rolls at around $5-6. It's not the most expensive bar food I've had, but it definitely isn't happy hour pricing. I only wished the hostess had been upfront when I called. She should have said that there is no Happy Hour per se, but that they do serve a bar menu. In a town where bars are offering great happy hour deals, some even offering two happy hours a night, I don't think I'll be back for apres work drinks. On the flip side, the foie gras ravioli with king crab risotto offered on their five course tasting menu might be reason enough for a return trip.

Hits: foie parfait, cheap roll
Misses: pricey for "happy hour"
Rating: **

Chaya Brasserie
8741 Alden Dr.,
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 859-8833

1 comment:

glutster said...

reminds me of my unpleasant (expensive) experience at chaya when I just started blogging...

oh well, haha.