Ever been to an izakaya?

Izakayas are Japanese bar/restaurants that serve small, snacky-style food specifically made to go with drinks. I read about them once years ago and clicked on links to izakayas in Tokyo that had intriguing menus of little artfully prepared dishes. I wished I could go to one.

Now they’re here in the U.S.! At least in the bay area of California. There are four or five here in the south bay, and all of them are a lot of fun. The food is not your same old/same old tempura, teriyaki and California roll. There are a lot of little grilled things, sushi things, deep fried tidbits, and you name it. The menu can have hundreds of goodies to choose from. In addition, an izakaya should have an extensive sake list and should pour at least one good Japanese beer on tap. At our most recent trip to Gochi in Cupertino, we had:

Spanish mackerel tataki
Stewed chicken wings in dashi with daikon
Shredded tempura’d squid
Fatty pork belly in teriyaki glaze
Natto, tofu and kimchi dish
Small grilled whole fish
Salad with little chunks of octopus

New York, do you have any? And have we any Tokyo Dopers who could fill us in on the culture?