Pau Hana Patrol: 3660 On the Rise

Jan. 29, 2015 | 0 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition
During happy hour at 3660 on the Rise, small plates include braised beef rib gyoza with horseradish scallion creme fraiche and au jus. (Cindy Ellen Russell / crussell@staradvertiser.com)

During happy hour at 3660 on the Rise, small plates include braised beef rib gyoza with horseradish scallion creme fraiche and au jus. (Cindy Ellen Russell / crussell@staradvertiser.com)

BY NINA WU / nwu@staradvertiser.com

Kaimuki is one of my favorite dining destinations, with its selection of eclectic restaurants and close-knit, neighborhood feel. While many places have come and gone, however, 3660 on the Rise is like a grande dame, holding court on the corner of Wilhelmina Rise and Wai­­alae Avenue for 22 years.

The Ilima award-winning, Euro-island cuisine restaurant just introduced its first happy hour in November, with a menu of small plates created by chef Lydell Leong and $1 to $2 discounts on both domestic and imported beer. It’s a nice warm-up to dinner but also a way to sample some of the restaurant’s cuisine if you don’t want to commit to a full sit-down experience.

3660 ON THE RISE

3660 Waialae Ave.
(808) 737-1177
http://www.3660.com

Happy Hour:
5:15-6:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday
» Domestic beer, $3.50
» Import beer, $4.50
» Lychee martini, $5
» Braised beef rib gyoza, $4
» Wings & Frittes, $7.50
» Ahi katsu, $8.50 half/$15.75 whole

THE EXPERIENCE

The happy hour here seems well suited for a mature audience — as in the baby boomer set — but could be just as comfortable for 30-somethings who want good food, drink and a place to catch up with friends. You can talk here without having to compete with loud music.

Happy hour is that nice lull before the dinner crowd starts coming in at about 6:30 p.m.

The service here is pleasant and professional, with no attitude. This is not a super formal place, nor is it somewhere you would show up in slippers and shorts. Happy hour is in an interior bar area, with seating either at a small bar or at a few surrounding tabletops (which won’t be by the windows).

We found the tabletop just across from the bar to be a comfortable spot, and one that was right in the bartender’s line of sight. Three hours of validated parking is available in the building’s garage.

THE DRINKS

For happy hour, choices are simple. There’s an extensive wine list, whether you want a pinot gri­gio from Prin­ci­pato, Italy, or a cabernet sauvignon from Mendocino, Calif. All wines, available by the glass or bottle, are 40 percent off during happy hour.

The selection of imported beers changes regularly. On the day we went, there was a refreshing Mission IPA from San Diego, served appropriately in chilled glasses.

The happy hour cocktail offered, a lychee martini ($5, regularly $7.50), was refreshingly light with just a hint of sweet and the right amount of the fruit. I’ve had other lychee martinis that were too heavy on the vodka, with canned lychees on a toothpick. This one tasted fresh, plopped right in the middle.

THE FOOD

Most of the happy hour fare is fried, which is typical, but there’s a sophisticated twist to the selection here. The braised beef gyoza ($4) is fried crisp on the outside, with a dark, dense and tasty filling. Two are served on a plate, with horseradish scallion creme fraiche.

Wings & Frittes, a crispy confit of chicken wings and fries ($7.50), was OK. The marinade in the wings did not stand out for me, but the fries were crisp and served with a duo of katsu sauce and shi­chimi (Japa­nese spice mixture).

Applewood-smoked Nueske’s bacon ($7.25) is served sliced, with plenty of fat still on, accompanied by grilled onions.

The highlight of the evening was ahi katsu, available during happy hour as a half-serving ($8.50, three pieces) or full serving ($15.75). It’s a melt-in-your-mouth piece of ahi wrapped in nori and deep-fried crisp in a coat of panko. It’s served in a delectable wasabi-ginger sauce and accompaniment of pickled cucumber.

THE VERDICT

Worth a visit. This is not the newest or trendiest bar, but there’s a reason it’s been around for so long. I would come back any day for another round of the ahi katsu.

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