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Found 16 results

  1. Over by China Star is Blue Ocean. It's a rarity in the nova burbs. A Japanese restuarant run by Japanese. The result is really fresh sushi, really amazing "little plates" (most of which are on a secret japanese only menu that get carried around the restuarant and put in front of the table for those that can speak it) Real Ramen and a whole bunch of dishes I haven't seen anywhere in the area like kama meshi. I've had decent luck with getting the english name off of here http://www.blueocean-sushi.com/ala/ala_eng...ategory=seafood and asking for it. Sometmes they have it and know what I'm talking about and sometimes I get odd looks. It's worth a try though when you get things like kakuni which is the best pork roast I think I've ever had. It's right between the Trader Joes and the Chuck E Cheeses for those familiar with the area, right off of 236 on your way into fairfax city proper coming from the beltway.
  2. In an update, I went to Kimen Ramen this afternoon for dinner. I had their mazemen ramen (ETA: from the menu: soupless ramen, spicy hot minced pork / egg yolk / fish powder / minced garlic / green onion / chives / dried seaweed -- note, wasn't that spicy) and it was good! I'll be back. That said, I'm not sure the music they were playing was of this world. Or I'm getting old.
  3. I ate here tonight based on Tim Carman's enthusiastic review and was very disappointed (Carman, you've misled for me for the last time...). The Akira Ramen (tonkatsu broth, with a couple thin slices of chasu, veggies, fish cake, and half an egg) was deeply mediocre. The broth, thin and bland, had little discernible pork flavor and mainly served as a carrier for the bitter char of the chasu. The curly noodles were little to write home about (or wax poetic about in the Post). Overall, a nothing bowl of ramen. I ordered the grilled yellowtail collar as an appetizer, was told it'd take 15 to 20 minutes, so asked for it to come out before the ramen. After about 25 minutes, the ramen came out first, and the yellowtail a few minutes later. The fish was moist and nicely grilled, but it won't bring me back on its own. Sitting at the bar, you could see bowls of ramen being plated sluggishly by an inexperienced kitchen staff -- nothing like the well-oiled machine at Daikaya.
  4. One of the more pleasant dining experiences, I've had in a long time. The space is simple, clean and serene which is a great reflection of the food. I went early so it wasn't so crowded but I'm guessing that this place will be consistently packed. If you had to try one dish, get the grilled Mero with miso. It's sea bass that has a nice char on the outside but comes out tasting smooth and creamy. My full post is below; Izakaya Seki
  5. I'm starting a new thread despite the facts that Daikaya's new Izakaya shares owners, a name and a building with the ramen shop downstairs. I do this because it's a wholly different concept in most every way and I'm guessing the discussions for both will remain active and very different from each other. Of course, if that's wrong (I know the Izakaya is referenced in Daikaya's ramen shop topic title), please just combine the two but thought it worthwhile to suggest the separation. I'm also going to violate my own self-imposed rule of not assessing a new place until it has had to time to work out kinks and/or I've been able to visit a few times. Doing that because I'm not a food critic (or anything close to one), this new open is as anticipated as any in the city in the past year and already has lines waiting for tables, and, most of all, this may be helpful to some (always the goal). HEADLINE A very funky, cool take on the traditional Izakaya with a big focus on spirits, sake, beer and wine and pleasing food. Likely to do very well as a meetup spot and bar but probably less likely to win "best izakaya" in town honors even with time. Lots of good and interesting dishes, impressive beverage program and very good value across the board. CONTEXT After yesterday's NCAA "Elite 8" game at Verizon, we thought we'd try the newly opened Izakaya if there wasn't a very long wait. A good half hour after the arena emptied out into Chinatown and 45 minutes after the restaurant opened, it wasn't a problem at all. We got seats straightaway without any trouble though, by the time we left at maybe around 8:30pm, it was very busy with people waiting and the central bar area pretty full. VENUE I won't write a lot about the specific decor as I don't have much knowledge about Japanese art and design so wouldn't do it justice given all the thought and significance of many features. Both the Post and City Paper have already published excellent overviews of the design philosophy and specifics here and here in their pieces done pre-open. To us, the space is cool, edgy, and interesting in a modern and pop-culturish sort of way. They say the seating capacity is around 90 which includes nicely sized booths toward the back and a gaggle of comfortable two tops with 2 or 3 larger community tables toward the front facing out onto 6th St. The large bar dominates the middle of the space just as you reach the top of the stairs from street level. Entry is a separate door to the left of the ramen shop below, conveniently labeled "Izakaya." Someone was playing around with the lights last night enough for us and adjacent tables to notice and comment as they became darker, brighter and finally darker. Not a big deal but, on average, it's lit a bit darkly. Noise level wasn't bad for us when full but I'm guessing TS will report a noisier, higher number on the Sietsema-Noise-Meter. There is a fine line here between creativity and cutesy with the latter getting in the way of a more practically functional experience to a limited degree. One small example is the menu distribution 'policy' and menu design itself. The small plate, sharing philosophy behind the food is fun and worthwhile, however cliched. But, extending that sharing philosophy to menu distribution is silly. We went back up to the hostess stand to ask for a second menu for our table (we'd only been given one) and, after the hostess explained the intention was "that a table can share a menu," we were given another readily. Another group of six was also seated with only one menu. We found the menu itself cute but a bit annoying with colored paper pages pasted onto the first few pages of a heavy Japanese lifestyle magazine. Some of the pages had two sheets of colored paper pasted on top of each other, implying updated menus. We saw one table literally tearing out a page to see a page underneath it, thinking it an older menu (but it was only the 3rd night). Kind of interesting; a bit funny; more annoying. Suggest maybe considering a simpler, more functional menu or, at least, more than one per table. The bathrooms are cute, indeed reminiscent of shoebox-sized spots in Japan and a bit impractical with very narrow basins that make splatter and overflow more likely and the type of hand dryers that require one to insert hands into the device. FOOD We ended up ordering close to a majority of all dishes on the menu, drawing from sections labeled "Grilled Dishes," "Cold Dishes, Salads and Sashimi," "Braised and Simmered Dishes" and "Unique Dishes." Brief reactions as follows: - LIVE OYSTER GRILLED WITH SAKE & OYSTER SALT ($2.75/oyster): We ordered just a few of these to try them. Fine but nothing special. Maybe a tad under-sake'd and a bit overcooked. - SHISHITO PEPPER WITH GOUDA CHEESE ($3.25): 6 smaller-sized shishitos on two skewers, these were different from the more commonly found straight grilled Shishitos and very tasty. Our waiter told us about one in ten were especially hot and that was right. - MISO COD WITH CARROT PUREE AND PICKLED GINGER ($7.50): Not sure the carrot puree is the best accompaniment for this dish though the fish itself was fine. - GRILLED AVOCADO WITH PONZU AND FRESH WASABI ($6.25): This was an original and delicious preparation. One of our favorite dishes, it came served as a half unpeeled avocado grilled with pit removed and ponzu partly filling the pit cavity. Served with a spoon to scoop out and share. Wonderful combination of flavors. - CHAWANMUSHI WITH SHIITAKE AND PARMESAN ($7.75): Maybe a bit heavy on the parmesan but a very nice rendition of the egg custard dish with the finely julienned shitake almost mistakable for enoki. - FRIED MONKFISH (Comp'ed--See Service Notes): Also one the best dishes. Generous portion with light touch on the breading so plenty of nicely seasoned fish. The table next to us ordered two orders of this citing it as their favorite. - BRUSSEL SPROUTS AND PORK OKONOMIYAKI STYLE ($5.25): Its name notwithstanding (usually a pancake with cabbage and other ingredients? unless this refers just to the pork; maybe more likely?), this was a very well executed version of the familiar 'grilled/broiled/baked brussel sprouts with savory pork' dish found in many restaurants of all types. Very nice char with ponzu or something sweet. A bit more pork belly, even if they had to raise the price a dollar or two, would improve it even more. - “RUIBE” TRADITIONAL HOKKAIDO FROZEN SALMON SASHIMI WITH FRESH WASABI, GRATED GINGER, AND SEKIGAHARA TAMARI (Didn't order): We didn't get this but I wanted to include it here because it was one of the more unusual dishes on the menu. We would have ordered it but were steered away from it by some advisors. Evidently, it arrives frozen, sliced very thin and melts in your mouth quite literally. - HOUSE FERMENTED JAPANESE VEGETABLES; HOME‐MADE NUKAZUKE, NAPA CABBAGE, TAKUAN ($5): As with most of the menu, good value for the price. Pickles a bit ordinary for Japanese restaurants. - STUFFED CABBAGE BRAISED IN DASHI ($8.50): Think this may have been the most expensive dish but still very good value. Generous portion of a mixed pork/beef filling in cabbage gently braised. One of the people at table next to us was from eastern Europe and commented the dish was similar to ones she knew from home. A gently seasoned and satisfying dish. - ANKIMO WITH MISO ESCALIVADA (see service notes): This was from the "unique dishes" section of the menu and unique it is, combining a great Japanese dish of monkfish liver with a Catalan veggie preparation. We were excited to try it. Unfortunately, it tasted of vinegar (not usually part of either dish from what I've experienced) and that flavor was a bit overwhelming. That said, they couldn't have handled this more nicely and graciously than they did (see below). - WASABI OCTOPUS WITH WASABI SPROUTS, GREEN APPLE AND ARBEQUINA OLIVE OIL ($5.50): A delightful, fusion-ish interpretation of the Tako Wasabe I had recently at Seki. Adding the apple and olive oil made this very good. I preferred it to the straight version at Seki and other places. SERVICE We were there on what was only the third night for the Izakaya. And, as we enjoyed dinner, the place slowly filled to capacity. On top of all that, they're using a proprietary order-taking and transmission system that has some complexity and, for whatever reason, some of the servers were helping out from downstairs at the ramen shop. All said, and though of course there are kinks to work out, they performed wonderfully in many respects. Usually a mistake is an opportunity to delight--rather than disappoint--a customer if seen that way by a seller of anything including restaurant operators. Daikaya exudes this ethic whether upstairs or down. We noticed a couple of tables around us waiting a long time for drinks though food seemed to come out of the kitchen quickly. A manager comp'ed drinks. We had an issue with the Ankimo being too vinegary as described above. After a short and entirely constructive conversation with the manager, he took it back, didn't charge us for it and also comp'ed the fried monkfish. That was an above-and-beyond response we really appreciated. No point in detailing other minor service kinks they'll surely be smoothing out in the weeks to come. The hospitality of the staff is a solid foundation upon which to build. BEVERAGE We didn't partake of anything but, by the looks of it, they have a very nice bar and beverage program with many interesting beer, sake and cocktail options. Will defer to others to report on that but suspect the program will earn strong praise. BOTTOM LINE For a 3rd day, this was impressive and, overall, we enjoyed the experience. Most of the dishes were good or very good with a couple standouts. The place is very hip and no doubt will be very popular. Value is very good.
  6. We've been going to Rintaro for a while now and are considered regulars. They've been serving lunch for several months. B and I had put that on our list but for some reason, plans kept going awry....that is, until today. Japanese fried chicken wings with smokey tare, sansho pepper and wasabi arugula. There is some really stellar, excellent frying in the kitchen. The chicken was marinated and coated in a crispy, flavorful shell that literally melted in our mouths. Berkshire pork gyoza, chicken foot jelly. The "lace" shows you how light the batter is. Hand-rolled udon, with two fishes broth, tenkasu (deep-fried flour batter) and hot spring egg. The covered pot contains togarashi pepper and gomashio (sesame salt). Kaisen mori-don. Clockwise from center: chopped California big eye tuna, wild striped bass and kombu-cured halibut over Japanese rice with nori, tamago (egg omelette) and shiso; soy sauce; wasabi leaf pickle, narazuke (traditional pickles from the Nara region of Japan) and senmaizuke (a traditional pickle originally from Kyoto, made from turnips); carrot and daikon radish pickle; Tokyo turnips and scallions in mustard-miso; marinated cucumbers in rice vinegar with black cod; miso soup with shimeji and maitake mushrooms. Total bill came out to $95 (with 20% tax and tip). Rintaro82 14th Street (Folsom Street)South of Market http://izakayarintaro.com/ Medium article from April 2015 SF Chronicle reviews (for those of you who like Michael Bauer; personally I detest him, but variety is what makes the world go round): Original Review and Follow-Up Review from Last Year
  7. While we wait for our moving truck to arrive, we are staying with family in Memorial, in the Western part of Houston. The whole family, 2 small kids in tow, had dinner at Izaykaya Wa on Memorial Dr. last night. I luckily called ahead and made a reservation, as it was packed to the gills with a boisterous group of drinkers/noshers when we arrived. This is a true Izakaya, being a great place to throw down a few beers and munch on yakitori and kushiage. It reminded Cristina and I of our old NYC haunt, Village Yokocho. We shared a number of things, mainly standards (edamame, vegetable tempura, takoyaki, seaweed salad). All were done well, especially the takoyaki, which were thankfully not drowning in Kewpie mayo. The chirashi and special rolls we shared were fine for a place that is not focussed on sushi. Chicken skin and chicken thigh skewers were nicely grilled, the skin deliciously crispy and salty. A whole grilled squid served alongside grilled slices of jalapeño (we are in TX after all) was mildly flavored and a bit too chewy...the only real miss of the night. Everything was washed down with several rounds of Asahi and Sapporo, and thankfully the exuberance of our fellow diners drowned out any squeals of protestation from our smaller dining companions.
  8. We had Japanese brunch on Saturday at Okane (669 Townsend at 18th in South of Market), a sister restaurant of Omakase. House salad, rice cracker, ume vinaigrette. Miso soup. Tsukemono. You can really tell how good a restaurant is by whether the kitchen pays attention to detail, and these were no exception. Pictured are kyuri-zuke (pickled Japanese cucumber) and asa-zuke (zucchini, carrot and onion quick pickle). Oysters with tobiko (flying fish roe) and scallion. Clockwise from bottom center: stewed pork belly, green onion; sesame tofu with cucumber and wasabi; soy-glazed smoked salmon; broth with daikon radish, hon-shimeji mushrooms, chicken and watercress; tamago-zushi (egg omelette cooked with mirin and dashi, wrapped around Japanese rice with nori seaweed). This was served with a bowl of Japanese rice. The salmon was a tad overcooked, but otherwise everything else was spot on. We were comped a plate of tuna and salmon sashimi that the kitchen sent out because the oysters took about 15 minutes to get to our table. A very nice gesture on their part. Really great value for the price. Total bill was $67 for 2 people not including a 20% tip.
  9. Lady KN and I were at Honey Pig Izakaya tonight -- we didn't see it specifically mentioned in the Honey Pig Multiple Locations thread, but if that's where it belongs, then please move it there...!) We were sort of aiming for Honey Pig, but ended up at Honey Pig Izakaya instead. We're glad we did -- less boisterous, lower music, no barbecue residue all over us. Owned by the same people as Honey Pig, they gladly took our Living Social coupon. We ordered around the menu and had way too much food, and just the right amount of beer, for what would have been $90 all in, four beers, tax and tip included. Seafood Pancake - Not as large as the one at To Sok Jip, and a bit on the greasy side, but quite good. We had two small wedges left over at the end and I picked through one of them to find about 75% octopus (or squid), and some flecks of white fish flake and shrimp pieces. Of course, lots of scallions too, with the green parts left in long slices and the white parts in very small disks. I would order this again. Grilled Whole Squid - A beautiful dish, about 8-9 inches long, 3 inches wide, perfectly browned and sliced in quarter-inch rings. Despite its appearance, the dish was otherwise a dud. It was quite chewy and had very little flavor. I would not order this again. Spicy Seafood and Tofu Stir Fry - Not too spicy, so I'm assuming they dumbed it down for us meeguks (learned that from Escoffier). The tofu was quite soft, and disintegrated as we picked through the dish. It had lots of octopus, which gave it a chewy mouthfeel, and some tender mussels (not enough for Lady KN's liking), shrimp and squid. I might order this dish again, only spicier. Sushi Special -- Deal of the night at 10 pieces of nigiri (or whatever the Korean word is) for $12.99. Eel, tuna, salmon, white fish, yellow tail, more or less. I would order this again. We perused the izakaya menu and promised to graze it on our next visit....
  10. First, let me point out that I'm not a connoisseur of Japanese cuisine, so hopefully someone that is will jump on this and give you a better overall opinion of this place. Personally, I'm just happy that in the space of a few weeks, south Dupont opened two spots with ramen in a few blocks of each other...this place, and Oki Ramen down the street, which I haven't tried yet. As you can see there's lots more than ramen at Nagomi. Nov 2014 Lunch Menu Nov 2014 Dinner Menu So look at this as a very quick, and totally incomplete, preview. I had a very solid bowl of shoyu ramen...the other choices were, um...well, I'd tell you if the menus weren't so damn slow to load. Hopefully they'll work on that. Anyway, it was a very traditional bowl...noodles, soft boiled egg, sliced pork and some veggies. The noodles didn't quite have enough of a chew for my taste, but the broth was excellent, and I'd go back again to try the other varieties. Which are...come on...getting there....aha, shio and tonkotsu. So please, if you're an izakaya fan, go on by and fill in all my blanks...this has been a pretty cursed location, so hopefully this place can change that.
  11. I'm very much looking forward to a Japanese restaurant run by an actual Japanese chef in Baltimore. Most places are currently Korean or Chinese run sushi & roll places. Pubu, Japanese for "pub", located in the Four Seasons at Harbor East is scheduled to open next week. They are planning to serve izakaya style food from chef Michael Mina and chef Ken Tominga (Hana in Sonoma). I'm thinking of making it a dinner for Mother's Day weekend. I will certainly report back.
  12. This has become a regular stop for us in NYC, or at least on the last 4 visits. It is a branch of a chain of two restaurants in Roppongi executed in much the same style here though larger and with the addition of sushi. Our visit last year happened to be when they were having a special event to introduce Ten Qoo farm raised bluefin tuna. The tuna then was amazing in quality and the special tuna cutting ceremony impressed our then 3 yr old daughter enough that this is now her favorite restaurant. The other theatre that they do is a nightly mochi pounding though usually too late for our kids' bedtimes. The main theatrical element of Inakaya is the chefs cook in front of you and serve the food and drinks directly at the counter on long paddles. One warning about Inakaya is that the prices of the a la carte menu are comparable or even more expensive than Tokyo prices, especially for many of the fish offerings. The saving grace is that they have several set menu offerings which moderate the pricing and provide a good variety of foods. Set menus come with a variety of kushi yaki and a main course of some other kushi yaki, sushi or fish. Kushi yaki we had included eringi and shitake mushrooms, asparagus, eggplant, ginko nuts, potato, sato imo/Japanese sweet potato, chicken thigh, chicken meatballs (tsukune), okra, and beef. Nothing out of the ordinary. Also had sushi which was on par with table service at Sushi Taro and much better than sushi ko or Kaz, in my experience at those places. (Kaz is the most overrated sushi place in this city in my opinion). Pieces included were ama ebi, kanpachi, hamachi, salmon, unagi, and what I think was red snapper/tai. Since we were splitting it, I don't remember what some of the other pieces were that others ate. Last main course was the ubiquitous black cod with miso glaze which was very good and a nice size filet. A la carte additions for the kids were grilled onigiri (rice balls) and an avocado roll. Have no idea how the avocado roll was since our 20 month old devoured it and wouldn't share. Kushi is probably the closest comparison with regard to menu, though I've not been to Kushi in a while. The quality of the food is much better at Inakaya and what really sets it apart from Kushi is the service. Servers know how to serve and pace the meal here much better than Kushi ever has for us. Going with the set menus helps to keep the price down here as well.
  13. Izakaya Seki is a small, family-run pub serving casual Japanese dishes along with Japanese beverages. Our kitchen staff is small and the opportunity to learn about Japanese cuisine and techniques is significant. We are looking for a line cook who is available 3-6 nights a week. We value kitchen experience although not necessarily in Japanese cuisine. We are looking for hard-working professionals who are responsible, methodical, and diligent. Pay is hourly and commensurate upon experience. For more information and to schedule an interview, please email us at sekidc@gmail.com or call (202) 588-5841 between the hours of 11am-3pm.
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