Happy hour report: Chaya Downtown’s Japanese beer garden

The downtown location of Chaya, a Japanese-French brasserie mini chain, has recently launched a weekly beer garden menu available on its patio every Monday night throughout the summer. This is a once-a-week special menu offered in addition to its everyday happy hour menu, both of which are available all night from 5:00 p.m. to close. Not too shabby!

The beer garden menu features yakitori skewers ($2 each) grilled on the patio on new hibachis and include chicken, short rib, beef tongue, shrimp and shiitake mushrooms. I was recently invited by the restaurant to try the new skewers, and I liked the chicken the best, which shows mastery in grilling skills, I’d say. All the others were good, too, though the shiitake were a bit dry for my taste. Maybe top them with some of that teriyaki or chimichurri sauce that come on the other skewers?

Yakitori, from top: shrimp, beef tongue, shiitake, short rib and chicken

I also tried some of the other items on the beer garden menu, including grilled corn with mayo and feta cheese ($5), sake-steamed mussels ($8) and albacore tuna poke ($7). While I wasn’t impressed with the mussels, I did enjoy the grilled corn (a huge ear cut into fourths) and the tuna poke (the seaweed garnish really made this).

Grilled corn with mayo and feta cheese

Sake-steamed mussels

Albacore tuna poke

I also ordered a Russian Blues cocktail ($5) off the regular happy hour menu made with lemon-infused vodka, blueberry puree, house-made sweet and sour, soda, and garnished with a fresh blueberry. For a $5 cocktail, this was pretty decent. $5 cocktails make me smile 🙂

Russian Blues cocktail

True to its beer garden moniker, you can get pitchers of Kirin for $15 here during this time. There are also other beers available on the regular happy hour menu ranging in price from $4 to $5. (All cocktails are $5, and wines range from $5 to $6 a glass.)

I’m glad I finally experienced this place because now I have another good option for happy hour!

Note: I received 5 complimentary skewers, one of each kind. I split the cost of everything else with fellow bloggers Esther of e*starLA and Bill of Street Gourmet L.A.

Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that three yakitori skewers could be ordered for $5. This is no longer available.

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Maya Meinert

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04 2010

3 Comments Add Yours ↓

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  1. Liz #

    That poke is not to be underrated! It’s the best I have had on the mainland. Nice review…makes me want to go back again!!!

  2. 2

    I love Chaya’s happy hour. I can walk there. 🙂

  3. 3

    I’ve checked out the Beverly Hills & Venice locations and loved both. I definitely need to get over to the downtown location after checking out these photos!


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