IZAKAYA BY SLOWFISH
From the good folks at Slow Fish, which already have restaurants in Miracle Mile and Huntington Beach, comes their latest venture, Izkaya by Slow Fish right in the heart of West Hollywood.
If you’re not familiar with the term “izakaya”, think of it as a Japanese gastropub. And while the new Izkaya by Slow Fish is inviting and an ideal place to drink and dine, it’s less tavern and more local go-to spot. Like Slow Fish, this concept also serves Asian Fusion, including Korean and California-inspired dishes, along with sushi and Japanese favorites.
Smack down on Santa Monica Boulevard, this izakaya may look traditional on the outside but is modern and chic inside. During our recent visit for dinner, we just had to start with an ice cold beer to kick start the night. Favorite starter items include the corn on the cob—grilled corn with parmesan cheese and paprika powder—and the Chicken Karagae—Japanese style fried chicken. Another sharable dish is the Slowfish Fries, which are wedge-cut and sprinkled with rosemary and served with a trio of dipping sauces. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Taco Yaki, which is actually a fried octopus ball. All of these pair perfectly with a tall beer.
Something a little different is the jeon (Korean pancake). I say order the assortment platter where you get a shiitake mushroom stuffed with marinated beef; chopped shrimp and calamari; marinated pork with onion; and chopped shrimp hot pepper with ground beef. You might as well try them all. By this point in the evening we moved on to sake to better enjoy our meal.
For our bigger dishes, we went with the Galbi Skewers—marinated beef galbi and rice cake served on skewers with grilled vegetables. A house specialty is the Seafood Yakiudon, which is stir-fried udon with shrimp, calamari and scallop. We ordered it spicy and it was really fiery. You may want to be careful about that. You can also order it with rice instead, which will neutralize some of the spiciness. Or just don’t order it spicy. One of my favorite dishes was the Kimchi Fried Brown Rice with pan fried kimchi with brown rice, pork and a quail egg. I want some right now just thinking about it.
And make sure to stop by for happy hour as Izkaya by Slow Fish has one of the best happy hours in WeHo offering buy one get one beer for 99 cents or get a 16oz beer for 99 cents when you order sake. Starter items, including the fries, corn on the cob, chicken, gyoza, and Taco Yaki are half priced. Happy hour is daily from 5-7pm.
What I like about Izkaya by Slow Fish is that it’s casual and fun and offers fine fare and drink. There’s no pretention; it’s just a cool spot to chill and unwind. This izakaya really does live up to its name.
Izkaya by Slow Fish is located at 8267 Santa Monica Blvd. Call 323-745-0533.
Story by Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy: Izkaya by Slow Fish