The Happiest Hour

Izakaya tacos in the Financial District

Quitting time is supposed to be a happy hour. Instead, 6 o'clock in the Financial District is a peak moment for monitor-induced eyestrain and Muni delays.

One possible remedy: Take time out for happy-hour tacos at Onigilly.

As you'd expect of a nine-month-old lunch spot specializing in Japanese rice balls, we're not talking al pastor and carne asada.

Not long ago, Onigilly quietly snuck in an izakaya happy hour on weekdays from 4 to 8 p.m. Given the sprawl of the menu, the food can be uneven (tip: Skip the deep-fried dishes). But the "kamikaze tacos" are just what you want to eat when decompressing with drinks and office gossip.

The taco shell is actually triangles of toasted nori. The cooks spoon fist-size mounds of partially polished brown rice (from the venerable Koda Farms) onto each one, layering on lettuce, onions, a little guacamole and your choice of topping. Particular favorites are grilled unagi ($4.50), sweet soy-and-mirin-braised ground beef ($4), and especially spicy, smoky bacon ($4).

There's a lot going on in each bite: crackling seaweed, crunching vegetables, the surging flavors of spice and meat.

Happier yet?