Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 03/11/2015
Photo: Alexander Thompson
- more in dining/
326 E. 6th St., 917-475-1284, East Village, Manhattan
Izakaya is unlike any other Japanese restaurant in town. It's a place where the menu has expertly rendered sashimi and Italian-style quattro formaggi macaroni gratin. Chef and co-owner Dai Watanabe has worked in Naples, Italy, and at a pizzeria in his native Kawasaki City, south of Tokyo, so his fusion food has a firm foundation. The snug East Village space is as casual as a coffeehouse and recently got a rave review in the New York Times. The staff calls out friendly greetings and good-byes in Japanese to a young local crowd while fun pop music plays on the sound system. You might not normally order dishes like "addictive" cabbage, matchstick-cut burdock salad or beef guts stew, but here they're among the highlights. More familiar fare, including deep-fried, panko-crusted pucks of pork and fried potatoes with pesto mayonnaise, is also delicious.