Friday, November 13, 2009

Izakaya Den

1518 S Pearl St
Denver, CO 80210-2635
(303) 777-0691
www.izakayaden.net

When given the choice of restaurants, the kids will almost always choose sushi. While we enjoy it as well, we don't want it quite as often as they do. So we find ourselves at Izakaya Den where everyone can get their needs met. The selection of sushi, Japanese and global small plates means everyone goes home happy.

We were easily seated at 6 on Friday on the second floor, which was a first for us. Apparently it's where all the families where being seated. A couple without kids actually asked to moved once they came upstairs and saw all the families.

There are several go-to dishes we always order. We also love the fact that parts of the menu change with the seasons. The sushi is as fresh, tasty and extensive as at the Sushi Den (Izakaya's big brother)One kids loves smoked salmon sushi and the other loves California rolls. Though the is wasabi still on the plate, they do remember to keep it off the actual sushi for the kids. We always start with a traditional Japanese vegetable appetizer of hijiki seaweed, asparagus, sesame soy burdock root salad which the kids also love.

Over the summer we were all addicted to the chilled lemongrass Vichyssoise soup and the cold cucumber soup with a touch of avocado topped with shrimp and cucumber salsa (the salsa was a little too spicy for the kids and had to pushed aside.) The vichyssoise was so rich and creamy and the kids loved the huge fish eggs floating in the middle. Both soups were sadly off the menu this time but replaced with other great fall flavors.

I started with a warm pumpkin and spinach salad with peaches, blue cheese and maple nuts. The flavors were perfectly complementary with the rich cheese and sweet fruit, the spinach just lightly wilted. It tasted like fall. We shared a marinated miso cod which is always perfectly cooked with a rich caramelized miso crust and a crisp burdock root salad. The gnocchi were served with ample lobster meat, porcini mushrooms, and a warm creamy parsnip puree which tied it all together.

We usually skip dessert here but we needed to appease the kids since our entrees took a little longer than they should have. One choose homemade chocolate ice cream and the other had a fruit cup with fresh berries and homemade whipped cream. My husband loves the huge sake list and prefers to order it cold in a box. I enjoy the sweet creative drinks and usually go with the Shochu Smash which is a fruity connoction of lemon, lime, and orange, muddled with yuzu juice and simple syrup, vodka, Iitomo Shochu, and topped off with Sprite.

Every family needs a go-to place. A place that makes everyone happy regardless of your tastes. A place that blends quality with ease. Izakaya Den is ours.

Kids Menu: N
Kid Friendly: ***
Food: ***
Ambiance: ***

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