Jimmy Woo's: Happy Hour Report Card
The Hours: 3 to 7 p.m. daily
The Details: The Jimmy Woo's happy hour is extremely inclusive: 1/2 price house sushi rolls (of which there are many), 1/2 price all appetizers (of which there are 25!), and 1/2 price all drinks.
We ordered off the appetizer menu (sorry, sushi lovers), starting with the Szechuan Edamame ($2), which was tossed in the house Szechuan sauce. The flavor was a sweeter, more accessible spice, but the edamame lost its heat quickly. We would definitely come back for the outstanding Pork Dumplings ($3), which had a perfectly browned, crispy exterior and unlocked rich flavors when dipped in the accompanying ponzu sauce (sweet, sour, and a tiny bit salty).
We chew Jimmy Woo's and dogs chew Jimmy Choos - say that five times fast and see the final grade after the jump.
The Pork Dumplings - a steal at $3 during happy hour - warm and flavorful, especially when dipped in the sweet ponzu sauce.
The Korean Short Ribs ($5.50) were marinated in a sweet soy sauce - fans of Korean barbeque will love the flavor - and easily the prettiest dish on the table. That said, they were better to look at than to touch: There was some small nibble of tender meat nearest the bones, but the bulk had a chewy, gas-station jerky texture.
Last, we sampled the Chicken Karaage ($3). We went with a "garage" sound when ordering this and were (very generously) told by the server that everyone pronounced it differently. Wok-fried chicken with a Szechuan aioli dipping sauce, this app was like Asian does chicken fingers. Very, very good, finger-lickin' chicken fingers (between this and the ribs, we could have really used some wet wipes). The aioli had a light and tangy kick that went well with the hot-off-the-wok crispy chicken.
For drinks, we went with an Orient Express cocktail ($4.50 - Absolut Orient Apple, Domaine de Canton, Ginger Tea, and Lemon), and were not at all disappointed when the ginger tea pummeled the other flavors for domination in both scent and sip. We let the server talk us into an Echigo Stout 12oz Asian beer ($4.50) - an excellent, robust stout, if you like stouts.
The Interior: If you haven't already seen girls squealing about the sparkly tabletops on the World Wide Web of Feedback, here's the deal: The tabletops sparkle, but not just in sunlight. These glittery surfaces add a touch of chic whimsy to the otherwise sharp, red and black decor. The restaurant is a puzzle of large, half-moon booths - ideal for relaxing in after a long day - plus a wraparound bar. And like most Old Town Scottsdale spots, in good weather Jimmy Woo's opens up to an extensive patio area, so you can wave at the Loco Patron crowd across the street. On the far wall is a giant abacus with beads the size of baseball caps: not recommended for use in calculating the tip.
The Cost: Our four app choices plus one beer and one cocktail, plus tax, came out at $25 almost exactly. On a budget? Swap out the Short Ribs and go with good, old-fashioned domestic beers ($3.75-4.75 before the happy hour discount).
Jimmy Woo's does chicken fingers with the Chicken Karaage ($3) - and they do them right.
The Conclusion: We were easily wooed when the host informed us of the happy hour specials just inside the door, and the service was consistently excellent. Overall, the food was hit-or-miss. But one of the best things about Jimmy Woo's is the open kitchen, which fills the restaurant with the warm scent of whatever's sizzling in the wok. It's a constantly evolving feast for your sense of smell - and that means that you'll be more than happy to order another round and hang out, at least until rush hour dies down.
Overall grade: B+
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