Monday, April 21, 2014

Quan Hapa

It may be a case of taking casualness to the point of disenchantment

       Quan Hapa is a newer venture from the makers of Pho Lang Thang.  We were expecting a glorified, contemporary version of its predecessor and on some notes it does just that.  Pacific Rim influences are throughout with cuisine ranging from Vietnamese to Japanese.  

Quan Hapa Interior
      The space is long, narrow and small with garage doors opened along Vine Street during nice weather.  That gave it an appearance of a resort bar that one might find on a
boardwalk along the ocean.  Communal tables and benches added to the casualness.  It seemed like an Asian version of Bakersfield that doesn't quite fit with what's going on with the menu.  To me, the cuisine would have been better presented in a French/Vietnamese bistro atmosphere.

House Okonomiyaki
      We were there with Louis for lunch.  Quan Hapa is currently only open on Fridays and Saturdays for noontime patrons.  The menu had been pared down from the limited evening one, but still offering enough choices.  Eric and I ordered a Vietnamese Coffee as we were familiar with the simple ritual of steeping it.  Our server helped us nurture it along, but unfortunately it was cold by the time the unusually lengthy process was finished.  He also offered us suggestions on what to order, which we properly followed.  Eric ordered the House Okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake made with cabbage, bacon, okonomiyaki sauce and Japanese mayo.  Like a large potato pancake topped with a fried egg, it pretty much tasted like what I just described.  (Eric had some digestive problems later that he attributed to this dish.)  Louis had the Short Rib Steamed Bun Sandwich, while I opted for the Sweet Soy Glazed Short Rib with Noodles & Kimchee Purée.  Both were equally heralded with my version touted as less spicy.
Short Rib Steamed Bun Sandwich
Louis' appeared to be on a hard crusted roll, while I had envisioned a more traditional steamed bun.  Served with light Shrimp Chips that had a hint of chili seasoning, Louis looked satisfied and expressed his approval.  My bowl was very similar to those I've had at Pho Lang Thang and Cilantro except for the short rib meat feature.  As is so popular now, it was slow cooked for that melt-in-your-mouth sensation.  It was quite filling, but not better than the other aforementioned eateries.  While the cuisine cannot be termed as ordinary, there are too many other establishments about town serving similar fare that better relate to their surroundings and are more appropriately priced.

Sweet Soy Glazed Short Rib with Noodles & Kimchee Purée
Quan Hapa on Urbanspoon

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