We ended the holiday vacation with some Sunday evening Izakaya dining, and having already heard of all the plugs about this place at all angles we finally drummed up the courage to wait. Though we had to get our name on the list and get a callback it seemed to be a slow evening as a few couples were able to squeek by after a short wait.
Furnishings actually looked better from the outside then when you're actually sitting inside but it has the ethnic touches all over. I suspect the ambiance is only as good as the company you bring, so bring a good time if you're expecting one.
Despite all the buzz we've heard with the fantastic food, it was more sizzle than steak. While the dishes we ordered were solid enough overall, preparation lacked consistency and refinement. A few dishes we expected to order were already sold out, so we went with the second string choices, ordering nearly a dozen in total. The standout dishes were the soba grill mackerel which was beautifully cooked despite its appearance, the fatty grilled pork cheek and the oden mori thin stew. The ebi mayo and cartilage batter was too oily while the grilled squid was overdone and served with Japanese mayo, a conflicting and lazy combination. The great flavour from the Kukuni stew was ruined by it's main ingredient, the pork belly. While fatty, it was rushed and not rendered down slowly and made it entirely stringy. The rest of our dishes were merely par and easily equalled. What is attractive, and probably a main reason for the hype are their excellent prices. Dollar for dollar, it provides the best value among the local Izakayas.
Service was a nice surprise for an eatery of this type, but nothing over the top. Staff are very friendly and pleasant creating the illusion that they actually enjoy their work to some extent.
I would likely come back, but more for the prices rather than on their food. Maybe it was what we ordered, but many of their dishes are bush league being passed off as big leaguers.