Izakaya Hi invited me to sample some of their new fall menu items! The name “Hi” in the name is hiragana ひ which is pronounced like “he.” This izakaya restaurant is located in west Houston and serves a mix of Japanese staple dishes and drinks along with some Korean dishes.
Previously I had only eaten at Izakaya Hi once and enjoyed it, so I was pretty stoked to go back.
The manager selected 4 of their new fall additions to the menu for us to try.
The first item to come out were the drunken mussels appetizer. Inside the bowl contained about a pound of black mussels cooked in a sake, garlic, and butter sauce served on top of crispy rice cake. These mussels were had a nice spicy kick to them and the sauce was smooth enough to drink.
Next, we tried two of their new rolls: the lollipop roll and viking roll. The lollipop roll consists of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, escolar, and pickled jalapenos wrapped in cucumbers. The circular roll is presented on toothpicks, hence the name lollipop, and sits in spicy ponzu sauce. This roll is very light to the taste since it does not feature rice. The viking roll is the bolder of the two; it contains shrimp tempura and cucumbers topped with avocado slices, spicy salmon, spicy poke sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, and fried onions. There are a lot of elements present, but this roll is very balanced.
Other Menu Items
We also tried some of Izakaya Hi’s long-time classics. At the beginning of every meal, the waiter/waitress brings out a complimentary cup of deep-fried spaghetti. This fried pasta is a common drinking snack served at bars in Japan.
For my entree, I decided to try their seafood bibimbap since I had never had their Korean offerings before. The bowl has shrimp, squid, roe, scallops, green onions, and sesame seeds which you mix immediately together with a spicy sauce. It comes with enough seafood to last at least 2 meals. It is served with miso soup and a side of kimchi.
Noeru ordered some smoked salmon nigiri as well. The two nigiri looked beautiful on the plate. The pink torched salmon contrasted nicely with the sprinkles of parmesan cheese.
Last, but not least, the manager brought out this dessert to finish off our meal. This dessert is the Korean sweet pancake, called hotteok in Korean, with green tea ice cream. The crispy pancake is filled with melted brown sugar and topped with the ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate syrup. Hotteok is a popular Korean street food I had yet to try and I loved it! It is less sweeter than it appears which is a good thing. It was the perfect ending to a fantastic meal.
If you’re up for a party, they have a nice happy hour and private karaoke rooms, so customers can drink and sing their hearts out. Thank you to Izakaya Hi for inviting me!