AZN is a restaurant that features Asian food. They have been open for over ten years in the Mercato, a mixed use commercial/residential development in North Naples.
I was recently at Mercato for their Sunday Funday event and rediscovered their happy hour, “R’AZN the Bar” at AZN. I Blogged about it four years ago; the food being just O.K. and had not been back since. On a more recent visit, the food seemed much better, so I planned a third visit with a few friends.
I was pleased to see that the items that were kept on the happy hour menu from four years ago had only a very mild price increase. This has not been the case with other local happy hours, especially the ones owned by large restaurant corporations.
Here were the happy hour offerings that day
There were four of us, and we decided to try a number of menu items. The first was the chicken lettuce wraps. This was a hold over from the menu from four years ago and I was happy to see only a 16% price increase. This item was good, featuring ground chicken, water chestnuts and hoisin sauce. As there were four of us, the lettuce was mostly ornamental. I’m sure we would have received more lettuce on request, but we were happy to just sample the filling.
We then tried the beef lo mein. This was very good, it being the typical lo mein incorporating beef, soy sauce, sesame oil and various vegetables. What is the difference between chow mein and lo mein you may ask? It’s principally in the noodles. Chow mein uses crispy (c as in chow) while lo mein uses soft boiled noodles. I haven’t yet thought of a good mnemonic for lo mein noodles but if you can, please write me!
We also sampled the spicy calamari and the coconut shrimp. The calamari was battered and spiced with Shichimi commonly known as togarashi. This is a spicy, seven component Japanese seasoning agent similar to Garam Masala of India or Advieh used in “Persian” cooking. It was served with a togarashi mayo dipping sauce. It was good, but not my favorite.
The coconut shrimp were next. There were four of them which was perfect for sharing at our table. This recipe is made by dredging shrimp in flour, then an egg wash then rolling then in shredded coconut and putting them in a fryer. They were served with a pineapple/ mango puree and were good.
My favorite of the menu items we selected were the pulled pork sliders. This excellent happy hour menu item featured pulled pork, in-house made BBQ sauce and cole slaw. The potato chips sealed the deal. There were two per serving so we ordered two plates for the table. Everyone was happy with these.
Our total bill came to forty dollars, or ten dollars per person. We did not walk away hungry. The happy hour offerings ordered were not exceptional, but were good and a really great value for the price. Better yet on Sundays, the day we went, happy hour is extended from it’s normal 3-6 PM to 12-6 PM.
This is a great place to have a few good bites after a movie at the Mercato and/or just sit outside and people watch. The happy hour at AZN has much improved since my initial visit and I would recommend it without hesitation.