For between $11 and $13, you’ve got a choice among four proteins to anchor the order: sliced beef steak, chicken teriyaki, miso-glazed salmon and curry tofu. And another choice of two sides to go along with the steamed rice sprinkled with black sesame seeds, a green salad with the recognizable creamy dressing, and pickled vegetables that come with each. Six preparations in all, all done quite well in my several recent trips to the restaurant.
The flavors are expected for each item, highlighting informed technique and good quality ingredients. The miso-glazed salmon has been my favorite thus far with the chicken teriyaki a close second. The salmon initially seemed a little dry and overcooked at first but was still moist throughout and with a very pleasant taste helped by a marinade that did not overwhelm the fish. The chicken is made with thigh meat, nicely. The steak was pretty good, I thought, with a nice reddish center evident in the thin pieces, but certainly not a prime cut of Prime with beef prices as they are.
For the sides – which have been the highlights for me – there are chicken karaage, edamame, agedashi tofu, tykoyaki (octopus), chicken wings, roasted vegetables, and cucumber salad. Chicken karage that comes with an interesting lemon-tinged dipping sauce, agedashi tofu and the cooling cucumber salad have been items I’ve enjoyed the most along with the side salad, as much I as enjoy the dressing.
A sibling of Kata Robata, one of the best restaurants in Houston, Izakaya also produces excellent fare that is largely also Japanese but with some thoughtfully tuned influences from elsewhere in the world. Though usually slow during lunch, it can be lively in the evening but still seemingly flying under the radar, which is somewhat odd as it is serving easily the best food in that part of Midtown. The lunch menu is an affordable way to experience some of it.
318 Gray (at Bagby), 77002, (713) 527-8988