Izakaya: The Japanese Pub Cookbook

Overview


Japanese pubs, called izakaya, are attracting growing attention in Japan and overseas. As a matter of fact, a recent article in The New York Times claimed that the izakaya is starting to shove the sushi bar off its pedestal. While Japan has many guidebooks and cookbooks, this is the first publication in English to delve into every aspect of a unique and vital cornerstone of Japanese food culture.
A venue for socializing and an increasingly innovative culinary influence, the ...
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Overview


Japanese pubs, called izakaya, are attracting growing attention in Japan and overseas. As a matter of fact, a recent article in The New York Times claimed that the izakaya is starting to shove the sushi bar off its pedestal. While Japan has many guidebooks and cookbooks, this is the first publication in English to delve into every aspect of a unique and vital cornerstone of Japanese food culture.
A venue for socializing and an increasingly innovative culinary influence, the izakaya serves mouth-watering and inexpensive small-plate cooking, along with free-flowing drinks. Readers of this essential book will be guided through the different styles of establishments and recipes that make izakaya such relaxing and appealing destinations. At the same time, they will learn to cook many delicious standards and specialties, and discover how to design a meal as the evening progresses.
Eight Tokyo pubs are introduced, ranging from those that serve the traditional Japanese comfort foods such as yakitori (barbequed chicken), to those offering highly innovative creations. Some of them have long histories; some are more recent players on the scene. All are quite familiar to the author, who has chosen them for the variety they represent: from the most venerated downtown pub to the new-style standing bar with French-influenced menu. Mark Robinson includes knowledgeable text on the social and cultural etiquette of visiting izakaya, so the book can used as a guide to entering the potentially daunting world of the pub. Besides the 60 detailed recipes, he also offers descriptions of Japanese ingredients and spices, a guide to the wide varieties of sake and other alcoholic drinks that are served, how-to advice on menu ordering, and much more.
For the home chef, the hungry gourmet, the food professional, this is more than a cookbook. It is a unique peek at an important and exciting dining and cultural phenomenon.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"...delightful. Robinsons book is more a paean to the vibrant and complicated izakaya culture than a definitive cooking guidebut the recipes, more than 60 of them, are the sort you wish more neighborhood restaurant chefs in New York would read. The New York Times Book Review

Izakaya - the Japanese Pub Cookbook celebrates unlikely foodie haunts and their cuisine, combining shochu-soaked anecdotes and pen portraits of izakaya chefs with recipes for their tasty snacks and appetizers. Reuters

Izakaya profiles several popular restaurants that offer affordable eclectic fare. USA Today

A unique work, recommended for most collections. Library Journal (Starred review)

Sam Sifton
Robinson's book is more a paean to the vibrant and complicated izakaya culture than a definitive cooking guide (one of the Tokyo joints he writes about has a name that translates as Laughing Drunk), but the recipes, more than 60 of them, are the sort you wish more neighborhood restaurant chefs in New York would read. Certainly they're adaptable to a casual, if work-intensive, Saturday night home meal.
—The New York Times
Library Journal

Robinson, a journalist who writes about food and culture, grew up in Australia but was born in Tokyo, and he has lived there for the last 20 years. He believes that izakaya, casual neighborhood spots that are something of a cross between a tapas bar and a pub, are poised to become as popular in the West as sushi bars are now, and his first book is an appreciative introduction to the world of izakaya. He profiles eight of Tokyo's izakaya, each distinctive in its own way, and includes 60 recipes that demonstrate the range of food served in these establishments. There are also sidebars on culinary traditions, ingredients, and related topics, and color and black-and-white photographs show off the izakaya and the dishes. A unique work, recommended for most collections.


—Judith Sutton
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568364322
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/24/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 640,869
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

MARK ROBINSON lives in Tokyo and was the editor of the Japanese culinary magazine Eat, as well as deputy editor and music editor of Tokyo Journal magazine. He has been a regular food and culture contributor from Japan to publications such as Nest (U.S.), the Financial Times, The Times (U.K.), the Australian Financial Review Magazine, and others. Born in Tokyo and raised mostly in Sydney, Australia, he returned to Japan 20 years ago where, enchanted by the pleasures of izakaya, he has lived almost continuously.

Photographer MASASHI KUMA was nominated for a James Beard Award for Photography for his work in the Kodansha book, Kaiseki, published in 2006. His photographs appear regularly in a number of periodicals, including Voce and GQ.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2008

    Izakaya

    Izakayas serve the Japanese equivalent of tapas - small savoury dishes meant to accompany the serious consumption of alcohol. But that does not mean that izakaya cuisine is crude. Far from it, as this cookbook proves. Writer Mark Robinson speaks to the chefs behind eight landmark Tokyo izakayas and unearths their recipes and stories. In fact, this cookbook - which is also a crash course on the culture of izakayas and a travel guide since there is a helpful page full of maps - is actually more intriguing from the narrative rather than the culinary point of view. Some of the recipes are unnvervingly brief as some of the chefs, like most brilliant cooks, work not with detailed measurements but from instinct. Others are dauntingly complicated, demanding hours of preparation, marinating and simmering, before the final deceptively simple product can be presented. But there are more than a few simpler recipes that are surprisingly international in flavour, such as the Japanese-style German potatoes and foil-baked mushrooms (dead easy and very delicious), that won't daunt even novice cooks. This is one of those cookbooks that you will return to again and again for inspiration, not just because of the recipes but because of the cooks' own stories.

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