Izakaya at Daikaya?
I decided to go to the Daikaya izakaya last week, and I'm glad I did. It was great, though overall, I prefer Seki.
I know that complaining about portion sizes is so old, but when the server recommends that we order 6-10 dishes per person (at an average of $8 per dish), you know that the portion sizes are -small-.
I can't help but order chawanmushi when I see it on a menu, and it was as good as others I've had. Very delicate flavors and wonderfully soft custard. Other dishes that stood out were the porgie special and wasabi octopus. The skewers, priced at ~$3 apiece, made it easy to experiment. The chicken thigh and beef tongue were both excellent. The grilled avocado was great, especially the flavored salt on the side, but it wasn't one of the best dishes. They did all anyone can possibly do to edamame, which yielded tasty results. Overall, every dish we ordered was interesting and well-executed.
Though I scoffed at the idea of ordering 32 dishes for the four of us, I admit it would have been great to just say "One of everything on the menu, please." Every dish was something new - an adventure.
After about 15 dishes, though, we decided that filling up at the izakaya wasn't quite going to be worth it, so before ordering dessert (the black sesame panna cotta is very, very interesting), we put our names on the list at the ramen house downstairs.
One complaint I have about how the restaurant is run is that runners came to our table offering us dishes we'd already been served. If it happens once, that's human error. But if it happens five or six times like it did when we visited, that seems to be more of a problem with the system.
Overall, a fun and interesting place. But if I had to choose a restaurant for my next izakaya experience, I'll be going to Seki. In more ways than one, Seki is a "quieter" restaurant than Daikaya. Of course the volume of the music at Seki is lower, but the preparation and presentation of the dishes at Seki somehow seem humbler. Todd Kliman said it best in his May 7 live chat: "One difference, and it's a big difference, is that Izakaya Seki hardly appears to be trying."