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What To Order at Izayoi?

I live Downtown and really want to try Izayoi based on all the positive commentary on CH. However - and I know it's sacrilege to most of you foodies, but I can't help it - I'm not crazy about sashimi. What else do you all recommend?

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  1. Simmered pork belly. Unctuous and delicious.

    2 Replies
    1. re: alla giudia

      I 2nd the pork belly and grilled yellow tail collar recs.

      What are those "packets" that are served in the pork belly?

      1. re: JAB

        You know, I once asked--but for some reason I seem to have, er, blocked the answer. Anyone have a less squeamish memory? For the uninitiated, the packets are little starchy, stomach-like (and possibly literally stomach)dumplings tied at one end. But don't let them deter you-- even if you're not the type to order sperm sacs at a sushi bar, the pork belly is fantastic.

    2. There are lots of non-sashimi items of the long and varied menu, which is divided by cooking method (i.e. simmered, broiled, grilled, fried, etc.). If you like sushi, there are some non-raw offerings: the eel avocado roll is very good, and the fresh sea eal (anago) nigiri is grilled and then seasoned with yuzu and salt.

      For veggies: the mustard green salad is delicious, the goma ae (simmered spinach with sesame sauce) is excellent, and I'm also a fan of their hijiki seaweed.

      For pickled items: the crab and cucumbers is good.

      For cooked fish: try the sardine "hamburger" (a baked patty of minced sardine), sardines wrapped in shiso leaves and tempura-fried; miso-broiled black cod, grilled yellowtail collar, seafood croquettes.

      Also, they have soba and udon. Lots to choose from.

      1. fresh scallop sashimi, you'll get very succulent thin slices of scallop in between thin slices of lemon on the shell. later, they bring you some cooked scallop (the tougher pieces) with a rich sauce.

        braised pork belly, so warming, luxurious, puts you in heaven

        duck soup with tofu and Asian vegetables, think it's called a hotpot or casserole

        gingko nuts, they serve them hot and roasted on a bed of salt. yummy.

        spanish mackerel sushi

        fried squid legs

        1. and if you like (cooked) eel, their eel on rice is about as good as any I've had anywhere in the US.

          r gould-saltman

          1. i had their croquettes... nicely deep fried and delicious!

            also, their miso black cod is great.

            1. Another vote for the hamachi collar.

              Cucumber salad with Octopus is to die for. The paper thin slices of lemon between the slices of octopus is simplistic genius.

              The Japanese fried chicken was really good the last time that I ordered it.

              Stir fried Japanese eggplant with miso sauce (not to be confused with the american eggplant with miso that's on the specials list - the one on the regular menu is far superior!)

              Steamed mixed mushrooms in ponzu sauce.

              The specials list usually has a some cooked fish items. Lately, there has been a crab salad with truffle dressing.

              http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.com

              1. Thanks for all the reccommendations! I did go last weekend and had a really good meal. Our order included the chicken ball hot pot, yellowtail collar, braised pork belly, vegetable tempura, lotus root, Japanese fried chicken, pickled vegetables - but I still feel like we barely scratched the surface. We'll be going back.

                By the way, JAB and alla guida, we ate the "packets" that come with the braised pork belly thinking they were just ordinary dumplings - so if they were actually something disgusting, I don't want to know!

                1. LOL, I ate them as well. My wife wouldn't and I'm dying to know.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JAB

                    The "packets" are fried tofu skins/pouches (inari-age) filled with mochi...

                  2. yes the pork belly is amazing!

                    1. The seafood cream korokke (croquette) is awesome. It was one of my favorite dishes while I was living in Japan and I have yet to find a superior version. Izayoi's is crunchy, creamy and plain delicious.

                      Tuna Toast: http://tokyoastrogirl.blogspot.com/

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: tokyoastrogirl

                        absolutely! although i burned my tongue on it as i swallowed it whole, it was worth all the pain and suffering!

                      2. regarding sashimi - at izayoi, i skip sushi and sashimi, even though jun-ichi san is a master, and I used to go to his Sushi Ryo in Hollywood. But the emphasis here is on Izakaya food so stick with it.
                        The homemade tofu is a revelation. I am not the world's biggest tofu devotee and I was completely wowed by it. The only thing that was a bit funky for me was the squid liver. Sliced very thin, and almost frozen, just didn't do it for me, and I love all things liver.

                        the duck was great as I recall. My suggestion, such as it is - try to vary the cooking styles. 1 stewed dish, 1 seared 1 bbq'd one "buta" butter cooked, one raw, one kushiyaki, etc. last there, it was matsudake season and they have a great matsudake soup. remember next fall.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Jerome

                          Similarly, at least for lunch, I prefer Sushi Gen's sushi/sashimi to Izayoi's.

                        2. i love the yellowtail collar and i think the tofu is spectacular as well. but my favorite dish at izayoi is the sea eel tempura that is often on the menu as a special. be sure to use the salt that accompanies it .

                          1. I ate there last Saturday night. Have to agree on the simmered pork belly. Also greatly enjoyed their homemade tofu (sweetish, and deep fried). The deep fried whole garlic was good. The sauce for it GREAT. Also stir fried Japanese eggplant. Service was good. Food was great. Parking is free (Office Depot on the south east corner). Enjoy -- we certainly did.

                            1. I know 'm answering to an old post but, can anyone tell me how much $$$ an average-ish dinner will be?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: jdwdeville

                                50-100 for 2 depending on how hungry you are + how much you drink

                                figure an average of 7-9 bucks per dish

                              2. Avocado and fresh made tofu salad

                                Theres another grilled pork dish but I cannot remember the name.

                                Boiled stomach. Sounds gross but its really good.

                                1. My favorite dish there is the duck and eggplant...simple but delicious. I always order it!