Uninhibited and welcoming, the pub serves mouth-watering, nutritious, and inexpensive small-plate cooking, along with free-flowing drinks. Like the Spanish tapas bar, it is a mainstay of the nation's native cuisine, a vital venture for socializing and, in these health-conscious times, an increasingly influential culinary force.
Eight different Tokyo pubs are introduced. Some of them have long histories; some are more recent players on the scene. All are deeply familiar to the author, who has chosen them for their quality, ambience, and the variety they represent. Also included are detailed recipes for 60 quintessential izakaya dishes - delicious standards and specialties ranging from those often found on the traditional Japanese "comfort food" menu to highly innovative creations that reflect the living energy of pub culture.
You will also find a wide range of information: izakaya history, profiles of Japanese ingredients and spices, a guide to the many varieties of sake, cocktails and other alcoholic drinks that are served, "how-to" advice on menu ordering, and much more.
More than a cookbook or a guidebook, this is a beguiling window onto a major food culture, and will be a source of inspiration to every food lover - home chef, hungry gourmet, or professional restaurateur.
Written by Mark Robinson and Photographs by Masashi Kuma.