West Seattle's Fresh Bistro jumps into the happy-hour fray with a $25 "bento box" — actually a plate of six items from the bar menu that easily feeds two or three people.

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The happy-hour devotees cross the West Seattle Bridge early and often these days, hitting the main drag for cheap wings and $3 draft.

Even the acclaimed Spring Hill restaurant jumped into the happy-hour scene this summer, joining the hordes of pubs and restaurants that have turned California Avenue Southwest into a festive after-work bar scene.

In the same area, slightly off the main drag, sits one of the best happy-hour food and deals in that area: Fresh Bistro and its $25 “bento box,” enough noshes to feed two to three patrons.

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Six kinds of bar grub — a bowl of mussels, sliders and fries, tacos, wings, crab cakes and the chef special (fried calamari on a recent visit) — are all served on a round bamboo plate.

The bar food has an Asian tweak, from chef and co-owner Dalis Chea, who worked under then-chef Greg Atkinson at Canlis Restaurant and chef Kevin Davis at The Oceanaire (now closed): nicely caramelized lemongrass-garlic wings, charred over the grill and served on a bed of shiitake noodles; ahi poke in crunchy, deep-fried gyoza wrappers, cleverly shaped as taco shells and served with edamame guacamole.

The sweet-potato Dungeness crab cakes, though, tasted more like croquettes.

Best of that bar feast were the pork-belly sliders, done banh mi style — a mingling of salty, spicy and sour, spread with a decadent foie gras mayo.

Fresh Bistro, 4725 42nd Ave. S.W, offers happy hour from 4 p.m. to closing at the bar Sundays-Thursdays. Happy hour is offered throughout the restaurant from 4-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and again from 9-10 p.m. on Mondays-Thursdays, and 9-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Those times feature the happy-hour special, where you get all the bar-food items for $25. A vegetarian version also is offered. Beer, wine and well drinks are $3-$6 (206-935-3733 or www.herbanfeast.com/freshbistro)

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com

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