Izakaya Reviews...

sakamai sign
I've been advocating for an izakaya brunch in NYC since at least the summer of 2012 when Uminoie had a series of summer afternoon patio parties. I guess I've worn down the owners at SakaMai (157 Ludlow, LES), because they are now serving brunch 11:30-2:30 Saturday & Sunday. Read More...

lengue inside
Walking to the izakaya past Notre Dame and other sites, things seemed sketchy. I walked along narrow old cobblestone streets full of flashy restaurants with hawkers outside trying to draw in thirsty & hungry tourists. I stayed my course, and nearly grimaced as I turned the corner onto Rue de la Parcheminerie, expecting more of the same. I exhaled deeply as I saw an empty alley with a single shop, which at first glance (thanks to the wine bottles in the window), I walked past thinking it was a cave-a-manger (French wine bar). Turning back, I found myself in front of the izakaya. With a single sign in hiragana, it was easy to miss. Read More...

shigure
Shigure deserves far more love than its getting. It's rarely busy and always delicious. The staff is cordial, even friendly, which isn't always the case in NYC restaurants. It's out of the way for most people, because izakaya lovers are almost conditioned to spend their time in Midtown or the Village. Shigure is a bit out of the way, but it's worth the trip - over and over again. Read More...

Yuki inside
Walking past the graffitti'd walls of a recently closed latin bar, you see the sign for Yuki. The immediate surprise is the live music emanating from inside. That shouldn't be a surprise in New Orleans, but it is from an izakaya. Inside there's a tiny "stage" (end of the bar) where artists perform live music every night of the week. Read More...

daikaya
In the most unlikely of places, Daikaya sits atop an eponymous ramen shop, across the street from the city's basketball-hockey arena. Through the door marked simply "izakaya" (in English with no accompanying aki-chochin lantern) you climb a narrow staircase to a large open space. Read More...

SakaMai Main Bar
SakaMai may not be the kind of place that you can afford to eat every night, but you're going to want to. The food, drinks, atmosphere, and staff make this an absolutely perfect night out. I'd like to come up with a quibble so it doesn't seem like I'm completely biased ... okay, here's one. Read More...

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