My first visit to Miso Izakaya was somewhat of a tease, so I’ve had a craving to return ever since. Luckily, NH was still in town for the holidays, so I seized upon the opportunity to suggest Miso for a group of us to meet for drinks, gossip, and some tasty Japanese dishes.
What was reserved as a table for eight nearly doubled, with stragglers hanging out at the nearby bar. Not a problem for this group of friends, that’s their natural habitat. In case you don’t frequent authentic izakayas, they are Japan’s version of tapas bars, stocking a huge selection of Japanese liquors, sake and beer with a menu of small plates to pair with your drinks. I bring this up because an izakaya should have several choices of cold unfiltered sake, but on my last visit, they only offered one brand. It was good if not a bit pricey. On this visit they didn’t have any cold unfiltered sakes so I ordered a cold filtered one that was pretty good.
Although I intended to try new dishes, I couldn’t resist starting off with shoyu tomago, a soy marinated soft poached egg on top of a rice cake, that dazzled me the last time. After my egg arrived, many more were ordered at our table. In between shocking tidbits of gossip, I poked my yolk with chopsticks, allowing the soft yellow to escape over the crispy, chewy rice cake. I savored every delicate bite.
There were several chicks at our table that I had not seen in years, like PA, who raved about the agedashi tofu, repeating the name of the dish in a comical fake-Japanese accent. I had to try it. Three cubes of bland tofu were stacked in a bowl with hot tempura sauce and topped with bonito flakes, lending a slightly fishy flavor to the dish. I didn’t love it.
I considered ordering the tonkatsu pork but decided to skip the fried cutlet in favor of the spicy tuna tartare, an uncharacteristic choice for me. It arrived surrounded by cucumber slices….a bad sign since I detest cucumbers. But I managed to maneuver my chopsticks around the offensive vegetable. Again, good but not great. I was beginning to doubt my first impression of this place.
Two pieces each of unagi and sake, impeccably prepared and presented, was my final dish of the evening. Miso Izakaya does a great job with sushi, very fresh. For dessert I tried the cocktail that KK was drinking, made with lychee and shochu, a distilled liquor made with rice or barley. Not nearly as sweet as I imagined, the drink was delicious. Then a bunch of us stood out in the freezing cold to smoke cigarettes. Just like old times.
619 Edgewood Avenue SE 678-701-0128