Kauffman Says Roku Does Right By the Izakaya Name; Outerlands Gets a Fresh Rave

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Roku Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

Roku, the new izakaya from JapaCurry's Jay Hamada that opened last fall next door to Sushi Zone, is a solid bet for an authentically boozy and casual izakaya experience, says Tasting Table's Jonathan Kauffman. He especially likes the "devil tofu" topped with chile oil, the "bubbly" fried chicken skin, and the kakuni, or slow-cooked pork belly. And he discovers an izakaya staple not often seen outside Japan: tonpei-yaki, "a simple pork-and-cabbage stir-fry wrapped in a thin egg omelet that is then buried under bonito flakes, scallions and squiggles of mayonnaise." [Tasting Table]

Over at the Examiner, Lauren Gallagher pinch-hits for Hirsch in a new review of the much praised and decidedly popular Outerlands. She describes the place, rightly, as "warm, soft and inviting," and says the perennial wait is "manageable" thanks to a nice wine selection and Dave Muller's excellent cocktails. Also, his bread remains a draw, and Brett Cooper's dishes are great, like a dish of red trout with sprouted nut seeds, Thompson grapes, sunchoke puree, and pomegranate, though she could do without the preserved lemon garnish. [Examiner]