Score bargain bibimbap and other bites at these upscale Asian happy hours.
Hot Noodles Cold Sake
15689 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
Chef Josh Hebert’s casual, weekly ramen nights at his late restaurant, Posh, presciently operated under the premise that world-traveling foodies and industry insiders would have no problem coughing up $15 for a bowl of ramen. And how! A few years later, gourmet ramen is firmly embedded in the Valley’s culinary consciousness, and Hebert’s stripped-down ramen concept Hot Noodles Cold Sake is setting the bar high while keeping things approachable. Happy hour includes house-brined pickles ($2) and salty edamame ($1.50, down from $4), which will have you reaching for a golden Tokyo-brewed Kirin ($3, or $5 accompanied by a mild, slightly fruity serving of Kikusui sake). Pork and shrimp steam buns are half off at $3, inviting the distinct possibility of spoiling your appetite before the ramen even arrives. 4-6 p.m. M-F.
15037 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
While Phoenix-based restaurants have been trying to crack the famously insular Tucson market for years – some stir up the dust (Welcome Diner), some bite it (Pizzeria Bianco) – concepts from down south rarely wander up and try their luck here in the Valley. This upscale ramen and sushi spot is the exception, having staked out a prime corner in the Scottsdale Quarter mixed-use utopia. During happy hour, select apps, entrées and cocktails get slashed by $2 a pop. Don’t miss the K-Town Shandy ($8), an appetite-awakening mix of Calpico (a tangy, yogurt-flavored soda), soju (distilled rice spirit), rum and lemon that you spike to your liking with a can of Korean Kloud lager. Tuck into bowls of rich, spicy kimchi fried rice ($14), boldly studded with Spam and freshened up with plenty of green scallions; and slurpy street noodles, accompanied by crushed peanuts and a wedge of lime to zip things to life. 3-6 p.m. M-Su.
Ling & Louie’s
9397 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale
The P.F. Chang’s approach to Asian fare has been imitated to no end since the Phoenix-based chain first hit it big. Though clearly inspired by PFC, Ling & Louie’s has quietly brought plenty of great new ideas to the table. For example: a towering frozen Mai Tai, called the Thai Mai, which gushes a slurry of frozen juices and tropical rums into a pool of much deeper, darker rum, swirling the booze up and down the glass. It’s a drunken Disneyland drink unleashed on North Scottsdale sippers, and it’s $3 off at happy hour, so order plenty of discounted snacks to sop it up. Creamy-crunchy crab rolls ($5) and minced, wok-fired chicken lettuce wraps ($7) ought to get you started, while Mongolian flatbread ($7, down from $11.25) with thinly sliced beef and a spicy chile aioli will keep you sharp as you tie on the Thai. 3-7 p.m. M-F, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sa-Su, 9 p.m.-close M-Su.
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