Please Feed Me

Try An Izakaya For A Laidback Night Out

courtesy of Randy F. on

Izakayas are great when you are looking to get filled up without spending too much money. What is an Izakaya? Think of it as a Japanese version of an Irish bar that serves food. The food menus here are huge so you can probably go everyday for a month and get to try something new.

One thing that I must make clear about this type of Japanese eating establishment. The food is never really amazing. If  you are expecting Le Bernardin, please just go to Le Bernardin. It’s bar food at affordable prices, and not a fancy bar. Probably great food if you’re intoxicated, which is kind of the point I guess. I’ve always wanted to go to Japan, and I imagine that if I get to go, I will see this type of place littered on every block. They aren’t fancy restaurants. Remember this is just plain and simple bar food, just the Japanese version.

I usually go to the Izakayas on St. Marks, but a friend of mine suggested that we go to Hagi, one of her favorites. We ordered a large bottle of cold sake and so much food that even our waiter was in awe. Well he was either in awe or disgusted, I like to think it was the former. What I found the most amusing was that the tables around us saw all the food we got and kept pointing and ordering from our table, and they were Japanese!! I am honored.

Sake- We got a very large and cold bottle. Think wine bottle size. Remember what I said in my mini sake lesson? Check back here if you don’t. They have a very large selection here, so unless you know a lot about sake, get a recommendation from the staff.

Grilled smelt-Very snackable and came three to a skewer. Quite tasty.

Assorted pickles-I love Asian ones, but these didn’t tickle my pickle. Sorry, I just felt like rhyming, heehee.

Octopus balls-Typical Japanese street food and they made them very well. Think of a small round ball of cooked batter with a hidden piece of octopus in the middle.

Spaghetti with cod roe cream-The pasta was cooked well and the cream sauce had flavor. Did I love it? No, but it’s bar food, if I were drunk I probably would have hoovered it.

Large sardine filled with roe-This was one of my favorites of the night. I love roe and when it’s cooked it’s so flavorful and filling. When it comes to any seafood that has eggs in it like lobster, it kills me when people discard the eggs. They taste so good and are quite expensive if you think about it.

Pork belly with bean sprouts and garlic shoots-People rave about this dish, I thought that it was just OK. I’m a huge fan of garlic shoots so I quite enjoyed that part of the dish. I wish the pork belly were a little more flavorful. My one main connection with this dish is that it reminds me of what my grandmother would cook for me when I was growing up and still does upon request, just with beef. That might be why I didn’t love it, granny probably makes it better.

Will I be going back to Hagi? Yes, and it’s because they had one thing that completely blew my mind. It is one dish that I will be looking out for at other Japanese bars and if my friend hadn’t ordered it, I would have missed it on the extensive menu. So thank you friend! It was their fried pork belly. You must be a fan of fat in order to enjoy this dish, because otherwise you will hate it. And as you can see from my Minca post, I am a major proponent of it. The best way I can describe this plate is to think of each piece as a really thick potato chip, a few millimeters thick. The outside is so crispy and when you bite into the middle it is all fat. Pure fat. Heaven on a plate. Based on this one dish, I know that there must be other star dishes on their menu, I just have to find them. Maybe it’s their sashimi, maybe it’s the yellowtail collarbone or maybe the liver or chicken skin yakitori, but I can’t wait to try more to find out.

6 out of 10

152 W 49th St, New York NY10019



Angel’s Share Is A Heavenly New York Bar Experience

courtesy of by Ben N.

Angel’s Share. Sigh. Angel’s Share gives me goosebumps. It’s one of my favorite bars. Ever. Small and hidden behind a Japanese restaurant on the second floor, the staff is dressed impeccably and look like Japanese pop stars. Oh yeah, and did I mention that the drinks are freaking amazing? This review has been a long time coming, I’ve just been putting it off because I hate spreading the word about it. I know, I know, how selfish of me. But I hate waiting on line to go to my favorite places.

When you watch the bartenders make the drinks and the waiters serve them to you, you know you are in for an experience. They treat the ingredients and drinks with respect and care. Every martini is a perfect pour and large ice cubes keep your hard liquor chilled. The large size of the ice prevents a fast melt that will water down your drink. I love watching them serve martinis. Touches that I’ve noticed, herb garnishes are always placed away from the patron’s face. I am guessing because when you take a sip, you actually get a whiff of the fresh herb which is just a beautiful thing. I’ve also noticed that they infuse some of their own liquor and that earl grey vodka is a beautiful thing. A very, very beautiful thing. I was suppose to go to a movie tonight, but writing this post is making me want to go to Angel’s Share. I’m thinking about their cozy seasonal drinks, the wide variety of scotches, the sweet, but not to sweet lemon drop martinis, the smooth feel of the Serenity drink and how I had a new love in my life when I took a sip of Cousin Mary. Cousin Mary, who loves you? I love you.

And! And! Angel’s Share has bar food as well. I always get the raw oysters, which are usually amazing, one time they were only average, which surprised me, but they are usually delicious. The soft shell crab salad is always a crowd pleaser. And they have other items such as dumplings, meats and sashimi.

Who knew that Heaven was just one story above the New York City Sidewalk?

Some notes about Angel’s Share. No parties bigger than 4 are allowed. No cell phone use is allowed.

9 out of 10

8 Stuyvesant St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 777-5415