Sunday, June 1, 2008

Izukaya Nights

Last night a group of friends and I gathered at the izakaya Kohnotori to reminisce about our years living in Japan. In Japan, izakaya’s are late night drinking establishments that serve bite sized appetizer dishes to accompany the sake and cold beer. But in Los Angeles and Honolulu, izakaya’s have grown to become popular and trendy eating places among the hip and young who often head to these spaces for traditional Japanese food, and who rename the experience as eating “Japanese Tapas”.

The majority of our party ordered the typical izakaya fare: Bacon wrapped asparagus, scallops in ponzu sauce, karaage chicken, yakitori (skewered meat grilled over charcoal, topped with salt or sauce), and ahi poke (found only in Hawai’i izakayas). Mie, who was born in Japan, and Ken, who lived there for 11 years, were more adventurous in their orders--steamed daikon oden, baked lotus root stuffed with meat, and skewered chicken hearts.

Kohnotori is located in the same plaza as Imanas, another crowded and contemporary off-angular designed izakaya. Other popular places include Tokkuri Tei, Yamagen and Sushi Izakaya Gaku. The first izakaya that I tried in Honolulu was Gazen, a spacious dark-paneled restaurant serving dishes with a gourmet flare and health conscious twist. Izakaya Nonbei is another unique space with décor reminiscent of a home or inn found in Japan’s countryside.

Let me know what your own favorite Izakaya is!

Where It’s At:

Imanas | 2626 S. King Street, Honolulu | 808.941.2626
Tokkuri Tei | 611 Kapahulu Ave # 102, Honolulu 808.739.2800
Izakaya Nonbei | 3108 Olu Street, Honolulu | 808. 734.5573
Gazen | 2840 Kapikolani Blvd, Honolulu | 808.737.0230
Yamagen | 2210 S. King Street, Honolulu | 808.947.2125
Sushi Izakaya Gaku: 1329 S. King Street,Honolulu | 808.589.1329
Kohnotori | 2626 S. King Street, Honolulu | 808.941.7255

1 comment:

Sheila said...

We all had a great time and best part was the company!