Wann's Happy Hour Isn’t Daring, but at Least It's Cheap

Beware the girlie drinks.

Among the plurality of perfectly square objects in the year-old Wann Japanese Izakaya are tables, booths, chair backs, plates, and floor windows looking down upon a stone garden (also square). It's as if the interior designer grew up in Flatland. The minimalism-pushed-to-the-max layout, as well as a chef trained in French cuisine, reflects the restaurant's quest to modernize izakaya fare (izakayas being the publike drinking holes favored by clock punchers throughout Japan). The happy-hour menu, however, doesn't include Wann's more daring dishes, such as yellowtail carpaccio and crème brûlée with Okinawan black sugar. Instead, it focuses on a range of izakaya throwbacks, such as deep-fried marinated chicken, fried potatoes coated with fragrant seaweed, gooey takoyaki (octopus) in fried-to-a-crisp shells with a drizzling of mayo, and a tangle of fried, dried squid that tastes like a fishy funnel cake. There's more oil in these tasty small plates than there is beneath Alaskan soil, by design requiring a massive draft of beer as a neutralizing factor. Fortunately, Sapporo, Manny's, and other varieties are only $2.50 a pint. Cocktail flavors range from tea to grapefruit to Calpis, and are mixed with vodka or shochu, a liquor distilled from rice, sweet potatoes, chestnuts, and anything else that thirsty Japanese can scrounge up. Just don't expect to score any points with your nihonjin friends by ordering one of these drinks, as I did with my Oolong High, a subtle iced tea with faint notes of Everclear. As my companion, who had spent two years in Kyushu, pointed out: "You ordered a girl drink." 2020 Second Ave., 441-5637. BELLTOWN

 
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