12/09/2013

Benihana

Happy Hour: Mon-Thurs 4-7pm
1447 4th St, Santa Monica, CA, 90401
Menu








The Place
It's Benihana. You go for your birthday, you go to watch the chef make your food, you go to entertain children, you go to overeat. But do you go...for happy hour? 

The happy hour is up in the sushi bar and has a large menu of drinks and food at reasonable prices, while the atmosphere is very nice and not crowded. This review is for the Santa Monica location, however quite a few in the LA area have the happy hour, but the Beverly Hills location does not. 





Ambiance:
The bar area is in the back of the restaurant and up the stairs. There is a sushi bar with ample seating and lounge seating around the bar. They have two TVs, and the atmosphere is generally pretty nice unless there are loud children downstairs. There is a good bit of noise if the dinner area is crowded, but it's mostly the ambient sounds of knives hitting hibachi grills. The bar area itself is very nice and rarely crowded. 



Drinks:
As far as the drinks go, they offer a little of everything--sake ($2), two types of beer ($3-4), 3 types of wine ($5), well drinks and cocktails ($5-6). I had the Benihana punch, it was refreshing, not especially strong, but tasty with presentation that would make the chefs downstairs proud. With the drinks, they definitely will bring out the sour mix for the margaritas or the grocery store pineapple juice for the punch. They don't suffer too much, but they may not be as fresh as you are used to. 

Benihana Punch
Chicken Fried Rice
    
Food:
Benihana has tons of happy hour food. They have 18 different types of sushi that are hand made in front of you at the sushi bar. They have a ton of other "bites" that are decent. You can't get most of them any other time than happy hour for the most part, so that usually signifies diminished quality, but they are pretty good.

One thing that is not readily apparent is that you can order off the regular menu. Some of the sides are at happy hour-like prices, such as the insanely delicious Chicken Fried Rice ($3.75). Two orders of this is basically as cheap as from any crappy takeout restaurant and infinitely more fantastic.

Service:
Pretty snappy, even if you are not sitting at the bar. They have at least two bartenders and it is never crowded. The food comes out much faster than at the chef tables.

Go For:
- Ample Selection of Asian Food and Drinks
- Cheap stuff that's normally pricey
- Reliving your birthday
- Chicken Fried Rice sent from heaven

Potential or Actual Kitschy Name for their Happy Hour: Benihappy Hour


The Details
Happy Hour: 4-7pm Mon-Thurs  
Address: 1447 4th St, Santa Monica, CA, 90401 (4th between SM & Arizona)
Drinks: $2-$10, Sake, Beer, Wine, Cocktails
Food: $1.25-$5.75, Sushi, Asian Appetizers
Parking: Structure across street, first 90 min free, $1.50 each additional 30 min. 

Pros: Great selection of reasonably priced food and drinks, not crowded, easy free parking for an hour and a half. Way cheaper than dinner, and faster.

Cons: Only Monday through Thursday, drinks are good but nothing special. Food options somewhat limited if you don't like sushi or asian food. Live sushi bar not as entertaining as live chef. 

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