Don't forget: this book below is available at 20% off for tablehopper readers for two weeks following this mention at Green Apple Books—simply use the code "tablehopper" at checkout (either at the store or online) for your discount.
Cookbooks tend to lag a bit behind restaurant trends for obvious reasons, thus it’s no surprise we just received the first book we’ve seen on izakaya, which, in case you haven’t been reading tablehopper, is most often described as “Japanese pub food” (not to be confused with British pub food—the aesthetics, the booze of choice, the calorie counts, and the mouthfeel of the two cuisines could not be more opposite).
The book Izakaya: the Japanese Pub Cookbook comes from Kodansha, the leading U.S. publisher on all things Japanese, and the author, Mark Robinson, is a Tokyo native and resident, so its authenticity is beyond question.
I’m not likely to crack this book on a weeknight for quick dinner inspiration—many of the ingredients aren’t in my cupboard and may necessitate a visit to Japantown or Clement Street, but many dishes are quite simple and most are pretty appealing. And I could see trying out one of these recipes once a week or such to experiment, learn new techniques, and liven up the dinner table.
Beyond the recipes, the author also profiles some pubs, ingredients and spices; touches on izakaya history; provides a basic guide to sake (an integral part of any izakaya experience, of course); and more. It’s also a handsome book: sharp pictures abound, the recipes are well laid out (never spilling from one page to another in case your hands are covered in wasabi), with interesting sidebars sprinkled throughout.
If you’re into the topic, it’s literally the only book on the subject. If you need some new ideas in the kitchen, this is worth a look.
Thanks for reading.