The popular Vancouver, B.C., spot Suika opens on Pine Street.
Last Friday, a mishmash of foreign-exchange students, techies and Capitol Hill dwellers gathered at the izakaya bar Suika, hoisting cheap Sapporos and $5 happy-hour cocktails like the salarymen in Tokyo’s Shinbashi District.
They snacked on the happy-hour specials of the day — bites of smoked tuna and peppery wings (a bit dry) in a salty, onion sauce. There’s also a play on potato salad with pork belly crowned with a poached egg and drenched in chili oil. It’s so crazy addicting one dude mopped up the creamy remnants with his forefinger.
To the uninitiated, Suika is the Vancouver, B.C., import that debuted on this side of the border 10 months ago, in the former 611 Supreme spot. Its décor is similar to its food mantra, a mingling of East and West. For instance, coming soon to the menu is a curry Wagyu hamburger with sesame soy sauce.
It already has a cult following on the Hill for its fried-chicken thighs and the fried-mochi rice cakes with spicy Szechuan-style ground pork.
But Suika south, like the other big Vancouver brand, Meat & Bread, hasn’t had the same buzz as its brethren up north.
Midweek, you can nurse cheap beers and delve into Jonathan Franzen’s latest for hours with little distraction. The crowd doesn’t pick up until Friday.
Part of the challenge is that the Vancouver locale attracts a lot of the young, hip Asians while the Seattle Suika draws lots of westerners who haven’t embraced some of the eastern concepts.
One such convention is serving a glass of shochu presented with a hand juicer and a fresh grapefruit sliced in half; patrons mix their own cocktail to their liking.
As one customer murmured to her friend, “Why am I making my own drink at a bar?”
That shtick is now 86’d, replaced with a chili-pepper-shochu-sake concoction that resembles something more familiar to Seattle bar hoppers: fireball whiskey.
Suika, 611 E. Pine St., offers happy-hour daily weekdays 5-6:30 p.m. and on weekends noon-6:30 p.m. with $5 cocktails, $3 beers and $12 pitcher. The bar-food menu changes daily but will usually include six items around $6-$10 (206-747-9595).