Newly opened and located in a popular plaza where the infamous Halal Guys recently opened welcomes Izakaya Hachi. Izakaya in Japanese is basically a gastropub and a casual place where people go for after work for some drinking and eating. Their alcohol menu is pretty extensive ranging from draft Sapporo beers, to plenty of sake. Don’t expect to see large entrees, but more so tapas style where the dishes are small appetizers/tastings of all sorts from Sashimi, grilled meats, noodles, to hot pots very similar to shabu shabu.
We started off with their two of their daily fresh oysters to get a taste, I generally prefer smaller oysters similar to the kumamoto or kushi so our kind server recommended one to me. This was served with a small wedge of lemon, ponzu sauce, scallions, and fish roe. The oysters were very fresh with just the right amount of brine, the lemon and ponzu helps cut out any fishy taste, as the scallions and fish roe add texture. Next up was their duck, this took me by surprise as it was served cold. The duck was cooked medium and still a little bit of duck fat left on top to add the right amount of richness. Served with hot mustard, sprouts, and onions, and I believe along with ponzu as well. This dish was good, however if the duck were served hot, the meat would’ve been more succulent, this is just a personal preference.
All of their grilled meats are cooked on their Bincho charcoal grill. This is the Japanese style of grilling, a special charcoal that virtually produces no flames and smoke, but delivers the heat. Also be aware I typically order a bowl of rice to eat with these dishes since they come naked with no starches. Now for the grilled meats we started off with, beef tongue! I know this may sound strange but beef tongue, when cooked correctly and is very tender, it may have a little crunch from the muscles but nonetheless very good. A simple squeeze of lemon over it and you will be very glad to order this, trust me. Next up was the grilled chicken thigh & scallions, and their chicken meatball both served with their tare sauce. Tare sauce is a sauce cooked down typically of ginger, garlic, soy, sugar, mirin, basically a sweet/salty glaze. The chicken thigh was cooked just right, the scallions add that extra flavor and the tare is a beautiful glaze really adding the right amount of flavor. Chicken meatball, you’re probably thinking it’s going to be dry but it was moist with just the right amount of char from the bincho. Pork Cheek is the most tender piece of meat you can get on the pig so I definitely ordered this and it did not disappoint, the meat to fat ratio was just right, and the pork cheek just melted in my mouth. Served with thinly shaved slices of onion, lemon, and yuzu. The lemon once again helps cut the fat from the pork, and the yuzu adds that little spicy kick to it. Last on the grilled dishes was the ribeye. This was served on a hot sizzling cast iron skillet on top of a bed of bean sprouts, then with ponzu poured on top. To be honest I was a little disappointed in this dish, the meat although cooked perfect, there was not too much flavor, had they sprinkled some Himalayan pink salt this dish could’ve been elevated so much more and very simply. Last of the protein dishes I ordered was the shrimp thinking this was also on a grill. However when this arrived I could tell immediately it was lightly fried, and then coated in a similar sauce to a honey walnut shrimp dish. This was good still, it just took me off guard. However the asparagus served along with it was missing flavor and a bit stringy. This dish could be improved with the asparagus, but the shrimp was still delicious. Last but not least was the cold udon. If you’ve seen one of my past post, udon is a thick, chewy, wheat flour based noodles. The udon here was actually very thin and not what I’ve been accustomed to. The noodle is cooked, then immediately placed into an iced cold water bath to make the noodle al dente with the right chew, and also to change the temperature. This is served alongside a small cup of a dashi sauce, scallions, grated daikon, and wasabi. You typically mix all of these ingredients into the cup, if you’re not a big fan of horseradish then I would suggest adding little of the wasabi. After this is mixed you take the noodles and dip it into the cup, the slurp it all up! The sauce was really good, however once again I just prefer the traditional thick udon noodles.
The quality of product at Hachi’s is superb, along with the service. All servers are extremely friendly and very attentive. Dishes are cooked to order so expect your hot dishes to arrive hot. Expect dinner for a party of 2-3 to be around $80-$120, but very well worth it. I hope you give Hachi’s a try and let me know your experience!
Location – 3033 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Contact – 657-231-6566
Cuisine – Japanese Gastropub