Tenpai is an unexpected treat. A mugi shochu, which from previous experience we’d expect a light, neutral flavor like Yokaichi or a rich, sweetly whiskey note like Kannoko if aged in oak barrels. Tenpai defies both of those expectations.
Our izakaya reviews focus on expat izakayas – izakayas outside of Japan. These reviews are curated by our staff. They are not solicited by the izakayas themselves. Many of them do not even realize we’ve profiled them. If an izakaya in your area has not been reviewed, one of three things is going on. It’s not yet been discovered by our team (shoot us an email), we’ve not yet had a chance to review, or it is not recommended by our staff.
If we’ve reviewed an izakaya, we classify it as one of 4 categories: Worth Trying, Recommended, Highly Recommended, Exceptional. Those should be self-explanatory. We don’t think you can go wrong with any of them, but if it reaches Exceptional status, expect to be amazed. We were.
We’re slowly building these reviews, but please check out Stephen’s Expat Izakaya List on Yelp!
NEW YORK CITY
Tori Shin (Upper East Side; 1st Ave between 64th & 65th Streets in Manhattan) Simply the finest yakitori outside Japan. A singular dining experience. A must try.
Izakaya Ten (Chelsea; 10th Ave between 22nd & 23rd Streets in Manhattan) The place where this whole izakaya obsession started. Still one of our favorites.
Shigure (Tribeca; Church Street between White Street and Franklin Street in Manhattan). A criminally underrated izakaya in an unexpected area.
Uminoie (East Village; 3rd Street between 1st & 2nd Avenues in Manhattan) A cozy, hidden place. Feels like you’re in someone’s apartment rather than a restaurant.
Sake Bar Decibel (East Village; 9th Street between 2nd & 3rd Avenues in Manhattan) A Japanese speakeasy where sake is the star, but shochu makes an appearance. Worth a visit for the vibe alone. Stay for the drinks.
Village Yokocho (East Village; 8 Stuyvesant Street between 2nd & 3rd Avenues in Manhattan) A large, affordable, energetic izakaya with a seemingly endless menu.
Yakitori Sun-Chan (Upper West Side; Broadway between 103rd & 104th Streets in Manhattan) A family run izakaya with the homey feel of someone’s kitchen.
Katsu Hama (Midtown; 55th Street between 5th & 6th Avenues in Manhattan) A simple, affordable izakaya in an area without many Japanese options.
Otakfuku A soba house in a working-class neighborhood with a legit shochu list!
Izakaya Honda Ya An enormous izakaya with a menu nearly as large.
East Side King in Hole in the Wall, Austin, Texas. An izakaya? In Texas? Well, sorta … and worth checking out.
Izakaya Yuki New Orleans izakaya with live music nightly and an eclectic menu fitting the neighborhood.