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NYC izakayas


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There are an increasing number of izakayas in the city. I had dinner at one tonight on St. Mark's called, I think, Taishu Izakaya Kenzo. Usually I go to Hagi up in Times Square.

A preliminary pass at a description for the uninitiated. . . They are very informal, surprisingly inexpensive and the food feels like comfort food mostly but also tonight I had the option of enjoying bull's penis (which I passed on), cow tongue (which I enjoyed very much, though it could have been better) and chicken meatballs (I was getting full by then). Those are all small servings of which you could order many and there is a wide variety of them not relegated just to weird meats. Additionally you could eat a huge plate of noodles, one of those giant vegetable-filled pancakes or a bowl of noodle soup. And lots of cheap cold tap beer.

I'm interested to hear of others and also others' experiences of this type of restaurant.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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There are an increasing number of izakayas in the city.  I had dinner at one tonight on St. Mark's called, I think, Taishu Izakaya Kenzo.  Usually I go to Hagi up in Times Square. 

A preliminary pass at a description for the uninitiated. . . They are very informal, surprisingly inexpensive and the food feels like comfort food mostly but also tonight I had the option of enjoying bull's penis (which I passed on), cow tongue (which I enjoyed very much, though it could have been better) and chicken meatballs (I was getting full by then).  Those are all small servings of which you could order many and there is a wide variety of them not relegated just to weird meats.  Additionally you could eat a huge plate of noodles, one of those giant vegetable-filled pancakes or a bowl of noodle soup.  And lots of cheap cold tap beer.

I'm interested to hear of others and also others' experiences of this type of restaurant.

Kenka on the same block is pretty cheap...the quality is lesser of Taisho and YokoCho. The beer (Kirin) are $1.50 for a mug and $8 pitcher. The most entertaining part is make your own cotton candy as you exit the establishment.

YokoCho is around the corner by Round The Clock. The quality is a better than Kenka and Taisho so the price is a bit higher. The place is specialized in yakatori, deep fried skewers and other small plates.

Leave the gun, take the canoli

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I used to go to Taisho when I was younger, but it's gone downhill, and I kind of grew out of it too... Kenka is now really popular down there too, but man, you get what you pay for.. stuff is really cheap there...

Those places are not bad but usually staffed by young japanese turning over often, serving even younger than them - so you don't get the obsession with quality ingredients that you expect from Japanese (nor the price), and can sometimes be met by inexpert/inconsistent preparation.... which the kids are too drunk to care about anyway

When I'm down there I usually will just go to Typhoon or Yokocho, which are a bit better and have more serious chefs. I haven't been to Kasadela, but Umi no Ie is really really good and I also recommend it.

Funny there was just an article in the times that addressed the izakaya mushrooming in EV...

http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/fash...CxcSIsUxDHnuEuQ

In the East Village on any given weekend night, throngs of such Japanese crowd the restaurants known as izakaya that have sprung up on and around St. Marks Place, in an enclave sometimes called Little Tokyo. With red paper lanterns and cacophonous dins, the restaurants serve delectables like raw liver sashimi and grilled rice balls, to tables of expatriates known in Japan as “freeters” (a combination of free and the German word for worker, arbeiter), or “NEETs” (Not in Education, Employment or Training).

As a Japanese version of slackers, such young people are often derided at home as selfish for drifting through part-time jobs or trying to develop talents in the arts — photography, music, painting, dance — rather than contributing to society by joining a corporation or marrying and having babies. The pressure can be intense.

Many escape to New York, staying from three months to three years. “In New York they feel they don’t get any pressure, that New York gives them freedom,” said the Japanese-born owner of the Sunrise Mart, a Japanese market in Little Tokyo.

The influx is at least a decade old, but unlike in the mid-1990’s when men and women freeters came in equal numbers, now it is largely a female wave — a result of the recovering economy in Japan that has made it slightly easier for young men to find corporate jobs upon graduation.

Some of the youths are financed by their parents. Others say they wait tables, even when lacking work permits, in Japanese restaurants in New York where little English is required, or take cash jobs like posing nude for drawing classes in Chelsea art studios.

Edited by raji (log)
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I once drank something that was claimed to be rum infused with a bull's penis.

There was something that could have been a bull's penis hanging right in the bottle. (It looked like something by Damien Hirst.)

It did not, as far as I could tell, have any of the promised effects, although it tasted alright.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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As the sage says,

"Strong like small turtle!"

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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What exactly is going on, the (biggish) turtles are swimming in booze? Or is it soup?

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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Maybe not the whole turtle.

Turtle penis shochu. That's gotta be the silver bullet.

Now me, whenever I'm offered something that works to that end (as it were), like when I'm offered "roots" in Jamaica I always ask if they have something that produces the inverse result.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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"Uhm, excuse me miss, there's a dead turtle in my drink. . . "

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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Is the new East Side version as good?  (I ask anxiously.)

Yup - same EXACT formula AFAIK. I haven't been there yet. Hopefully it will take the heat off the westside branch, because yeah, I'm sick of fighting with old momma's for a table there

Besides the superb chicken they use, you know why Totto is so authentic - they apprentice their staff as striclty as they do in Japan. Watch the intensity with which they work that grill. That's why every piece is cooked to perfection.

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I've been to Kasadela on numerous occasions, though not recently. I really enjoyed every meal there. It's got a more refined atmosphere than the places on St Mark's. I believe there are one or two draft sakes available as well.

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I've been to Kasadela on numerous occasions, though not recently. I really enjoyed every meal there. It's got a more refined atmosphere than the places on St Mark's. I believe there are one or two draft sakes available as well.

Draft sake as of Nama sake?

Leave the gun, take the canoli

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According to Grub Street, the woman who ran D'ohr An has opened up an izakaya in that space.

It's one of those credentialed-chefs-do-vernacular-cookery type places, which always makes me suspicious (it usually seems to translate into higher-prices-for-blander-food), but when you're shut out of Tia Pol next door . . . .

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According to Grub Street, the woman who ran D'ohr An has opened up an izakaya in that space.

It's one of those credentialed-chefs-do-vernacular-cookery type places, which always makes me suspicious (it usually seems to translate into higher-prices-for-blander-food), but when you're shut out of Tia Pol next door . . . .

going to tia pol in an hour. i'll keep that in mind. thanks!

can't believe it's not butter? i can.

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Draft sake as of Nama sake?

AzianBrewer - sigh... I can't recall. I do recall literally seeing it come out of a beer tap. I know, it doesn't make ia lot of sense. I guess I'll have to go back down there and see again. :-P

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