Monday, August 6, 2007

Happi Songs ~ 8

Craving some Asian inspired food, I decided to check out the newly opened Happi Songs last night. What used to be Rita Flora, is now a trendy Asian tavern. The decor is artsy/edgy and creates the feeling of being tucked away on a little back street in Beijing or Shanghai, eating noodles from a street stall. Don't forget to check out the crazy Asian graffiti style wall on the way to the restroom and the cool old bicycles. The small space glows with warm red lighting and a cool breeze floats inside since the restaurant's open to the street. You can also read Anime comic books while you wait for your food.

I started with a sho chu cocktail called Guy Smiley. It was a combo of fresh pressed blood orange, pear puree, and Ginza No Suzume sho chu (a distilled Japanese alcohol). The drink was very fresh but a little too sweet for me. It may have been better shaken and strained into a martini glass. Too much ice made the cocktail watery after a few minutes. Much like it's sister restaurant Cobras & Matadors, small plates are the theme here. I ordered chilled melon soup,
pecan honey glazed shrimp, and Hamachi (yellowtail) collar. The soup came drizzled with a little oil and crushed mint. A light tangerine color, it was pretty but bland and needed to be more chilled. 5 plump golden shrimp arrived next, lightly fried, brushed with a sweet honey glaze and sprinkled with crushed raw pecans. The pecans gave the dish a slightly earthy flavor and the shrimp tasted juicy and fresh but could have used a bit more seasoning.
My Hamachi collar was very simple and VERY DELICIOUS! Grilled to perfection and sprinkled with sea salt, each bite was tender and gorgeous. Chef Yi-fan Chu sent out a sample of another item which was definitely the WOW DISH of my meal. A Mirin Miso Butterfish balanced on a small square of tempura fried tofu and and soba noodles. The fish, crispy and golden on the outside, was buttery and luxurious inside. The noodles were tossed with a little sesame oil and the spicy baby watercress on top cut the richness of the dish nicely. The service was laid back friendly, and knowledgeable. I'll definitely revisit this happi little place.

HappiSongs Asian Tavern 460 South LaBrea (323)936-7622 L-D Daily
beer/wine/sake/sho chu only


  1. I also loved the atmosphere of this restaurant - will definitely visit again after cocktails at Luna Park!

  2. I'd like to try this restaurant sometime, It looks great!! your salad reicipe also looked very good!! Dan from Rancho Mir.

  3. Would like to know the price range of this spot? Willo from Lake Tahoe.

  4. hi mr. chef Yi-fan Chu...ur food are really nice the way it serve and way it look,,,u can tell the food are good .........goood quality of food ,,so for those chef who made good foods thanks so much you are been an inspiration for a lot of people,,and for chef Yi-fan chu thanks keep it up and continue to make good quality food.........jerson S. Binas