Hanzo blends Japanese comfort and cocktails

New Japanese-inspired bar, Hanzo, has recently opened its doors to the public to enjoy its Izakaya-inspired bar to focus on a Japanese cocktail menu with light snack options. (Photos, Christina Acosta)

Hanzo, located at 7701 Broadway St. Ste.124, is a new bar concept developed by Steve Mahoney that recently opened its doors to bring the Far East to San Antonio.

Inspired by the idea of an Izakaya, a type of informal Japanese gastro pub, Hanzo is a casual neighborhood spot for after-work happy hours, weekend and late night drinks, as well as light bites. The cocktail program incorporates a range of Japanese ingredients such as matcha and miso, as well as a selection of Japanese beers and sake.

“After seeing the space and brainstorming this concept, we wanted to offer a unique and fun pub for this neighborhood,” said Steve Mahoney, owner of Hanzo. “I did some research and discovered that the Japanese version of your local watering hole is called an Izakaya.”

Developed by Hanzo’s Lead Bartender Nick Kenna – well known for his time at Dorćol Distillery and Blue Box – the cocktail menu includes options like The Yuzual Suspect (yuzu sake, yuzu-ginger syrup, lime, Topo Chico), Miso Hungry (sake/soju, miso simple syrup, lime, ponzu/angostura reduction misting), the Matcha Matcha Man (Kinsman Rakia, gin, matcha, honey) and more.

“A lot of these drinks are riffs on classics, but something that we have been doing for years,” Kenna told La Prensa. “I have taken them and tweaked them slightly, and added either a sake component or wine. It’s a complete characteristic, a little more adventurous than what I thought was going to be, but people are opening it with open arms.”

The small but unique food menu, developed by local Chef Justin Richardson of Francis Bogside, focuses on Japanese cuisine and includes items such as lotus root chips with wasabi, edamame and avocado puree; Hamachi sashimi with ginger soy dressing and scallions; house made pork dumplings and gyoza sauce and more.

Ultimately for the future, Kenna hopes to change the menu every season to have a good group of solid cocktails for people to enjoy. He would also like for the food menu to extend, but to be a menu that pairs well with the cocktails.

“I have been working on this menu for forever, and I would like to have a good solid group of cocktails. I would also like to see the food component to get a little bit bigger, but not too much,” continued Kenna. “I’m going to look for more banter with [Chef Richardson] on pairings. The cocktail and food menu work good for now, but there will be much more association than the nature with itself.”

Hanzo’s hours of operations are Monday through Sunday from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. For more information on Hanzo, please visit www.hanzobar.com. You can also follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hanzobarsa, Twitter @hanzobarsa and Instagram @hanzobarsa.