Izakaya are attracting growing attention both in Japan and overseas. While Japan has many guidebooks and cookbooks, and an izakaya boom is underway among Japan's youth, this is the first publication in English to delve deeply into this unique and vital cornerstone of Japanese food culture. The timing is perfect-as The New York Timessuggested last year: "In a city [LA] where small plate restaurants have been the rage for several years now, the Japanese izakaya-a pub featuring savory snacks downed with sake or cold beer-is starting to shove the sushi bar off its pedestal."
A mainstay of the nation's food culture, the izakaya is a vital venue for socializing and an increasingly innovative culinary influence. Readers of this book will be guided through many different styles of establishments and recipes. At the same time, they will learn how to cook many delicious standards and specialties and discover how to "design" a meal as the evening progresses.
Eight different Tokyo pubs are introduced, ranging from those that serve traditional Japanese "comfort food," such as yakitori (barbequed chicken), to those offering highly innovative creations. Some of them have long histories; some are more recent players on the scene. All are quite familiar to the author, who has chosen them for the variety they represent. The book includes knowledgeable text on the social and cultural etiquette of visiting izakaya, so it can be used as a guide to enter the potentially daunting world of pubs. Besides the detailed recipes, it also offers a variety of information -detailed profiles of Japanese ingredients and spices, a guide to the wide varieties of sake and other alcoholic drinks that are served, "how-to" advice on menu ordering, and more.