02/15/2010

Izakaya Heaven on Earth

On Sunday evening Team Kyoto rather luckily stumbled across dining Nirvana and promptly fell in L-O-V-E.....with our F-O-O-D!
And if you and yours want to experience similar gastronomic bliss then I can confidently recommend-

OOKINIYA!
http://www.eonet.ne.jp/~ookiniya-kyoto/

From the street (located just a 10 sec walk East of Shirakawa-dori and just South around the 1st corner off Higashikuramaguchi-dori) this rather modestly-sized Izakaya's nondescript exterior gives away few clues as to the epicurean treasure that you will discover inside its cozy, unassuming interior.
First, while this is definitely a traditional style dining/drinking experience the menu is anything but and most certainly will delight you with its exciting, eclectic, electric and wonderfully eccentric variety of dishes ranging far and wide to suit any taste you may be craving.

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(A sidenote to my Western Friends, if you happen to struggle with Nihon-go never fear 'cuz the Master Masaki-san will be glad to guide you in his flawless English so don't be shy)


The lead-off appetizers are your 1st hint to the pleasures in store for your lucky tastebuds-
A delicious dollop of pate' nestled on a bed of tofu and topped with a zesty slice of pepper.
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We have Lift-off!

After we savored that flavor we tore into the Menu with a passion and were rocketed into the Sunday evening stars by a cornucopia of culinary deliciousness.

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Our 1st stage blast included-
Fried fresh oysters (MMMMMMmmmm)
A sublime Salmon/Avocado Salad in a dreamy, creamy white sauce
Croquette (a rather unique home-made fried potato/creamcheese combo with a fresh berry jam)
and an absolutely orgasmic fried chicken bathed in a tangy sauce that we all fought over until it was finished then poured the sauce over a bowl of steamy rice (as per Masaki-san's instructions) then wrestled over that!

We felt no need to stop there so we hit the afterburners and were rewarded by mouth-wateringly juicy beefsteak
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and a truly unbelievable fried prawn in a spicy korean red sauce coupled to a rice/egg combo that proved to be a lovely union indeed.




But what proper Izakaya chowdown could possibly be a success without some Yaki-soba to top it off?
And Ookiniya brings it!

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I can safely say that I've had Yaki-soba many, many times but this dish was one to savor every moment of before gratefully loosening your belt. As for the smile on your face, trust me, that won't get any looser.

Dessert is, of course, on the Menu and according to the reports I received from Team Kyoto (I, myself was bending to my beer and did not indulge) it was one to remember.
If you happen to be a Nihon-shu (Sake to you) Fan then please try the very original Hire-shu , a hot sake drink with dried and aged (Masaki-san dries and stores them himself for one season prior to their use) Fugu fins mixed in to give it an extra special, subtle yet snappy flavor.
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While Ookiniya is a typically smaller-sized Izakaya the counter can seat 12-15, they also have one table that can fit 4-5 Adults comfortably but please realize that the Menu is simply a very clear cut above your average place and their prices are in line with that quality but slightly above average.
Ideal for Dates (I can imagine no one who won't love the cuisine), Family dinners or casual yet tasteful dining with Friends, they got what you want so please do yourself a favor and come get it!
The place is small but it's no secret for J-Landers (check the cool video on the webpage) so please plan a bit ahead.

Open for Lunch 11:30-2:00
Dinner 5:30-1:30 AM.
Closed Thursdays.

Interesting sidenote- Massaki-san is also an Artist/Sculptor of some renown (and when you see his food presentation this is very easy to understand) and has several of his original paintings on display on his walls so if you are curious please ask and he may enlighten you about his Art and process.
If you got Bank, maybe you can buy!


posted by Billy at 18:43 | Kyoto (Japan)
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