Izakaya is a Japanese small plates restaurant located at 705 6th St NW. Izakaya is located upstairs from its sister restaurant, Daikaya, which is a ramen place. Japanese food is not normally associated with brunch, but Izakaya’s Japanese fusion brunch might just be the best brunch in DC. An added bonus is that unlike some of the better-known brunch spots (read: Founding Farmers) it is not difficult to get a brunch reservation at Izakaya. Some of their most innovative and delicious brunch options include:
- A Japanese take on bagels and lox featuring a rice ball in place of the bagel and an assortment of smoked salmon, salmon sashimi ikura, picked onion and cream cheese.
- A Japanese take on crab cakes benedict with a Japanese-style crab korokke and tonkatsu sauce.
- A Japanese chicken and waffles with chicken kara-age and a waffle stuffed with red bean served with maple syrup and wasabi butter.
- Delicious french toast made with condensed milk.
One of the best aspects of their brunch is that it is served small-plates style, so you can (and should!) try a few. Excellent french press coffee sourced from Qualia Coffee in Petworth and tasty cocktails round out the meal nicely.
So why doesn’t Izakaya get five stars? I tried their brunch before their dinner and had high expectations that their dinner would be equally mind-blowing. It wasn’t. I ordered the “hambagu,” Japanese-style beef hamburger steak with red wine-Worcestershire sauce. It was reminiscent of meatloaf. I also had a fish dish, which was fine but nothing terribly memorable. The crab croquettes were very tasty, though. Izakaya also does a really cool take on the sake bomb: the sake comes enclosed in a ball (similar to a large pop boba) floating in the beer. When it hits your tongue, it pops, giving you a burst of sake.
The bottom line for Izakaya is that the brunch is phenomenal and deserves five stars. The dinner (at least what I ordered) wasn’t bad by any means, but was less exceptional.