An izakaya is hard to describe. It’s neither a standard sit-down restaurant, nor is it a bar dedicated to drinking. Like a tapas joint in Barcelona, it’s a place where you can leisurely unwind while grazing at a cornucopia of small plates. Each neighborhood will have at least one, serving as a local gathering place. Young and old, blue collar and white - all kinds of characters congregate along the cozy wooden counters to enjoy good company and a good buzz.
Start out with a cold, refreshing beer, preferably in a frozen mug. Nibble at some edamame or oshinko (seasonal pickles), then settle into a carafe of sake and some savory skewers. Let the conversation rise between old friends, or even strike one up with strangers. The hours pass by pleasantly as your heart and belly become full.
The mission of Yopparai and Azasu is to bring this sense of home outside of home to New York. We invite you to visit us often and make new memories each time!
Chanko Nabe (sumo stew)
Chanko nabe is commonly known as “sumo hotpot” - sumo wrestlers often gulp down ten servings at a time along with rice and beer to make their size gains. Our version starts with a hearty chicken and pork broth, which is then filled to the brim with juicy morsels of chicken and pork. Generous portions of napa cabbage, leeks, and mushrooms make it healthy on top of satisfying.
Don’t let its claim to fame scare you, though! Although the portions are big, these dishes are meant for sharing. In fact, the “chanko” part of the name stands for “father and son”, which implies that it’s a family-style meal. So get a bunch of friends, and dig in!
Eating Azasu-style Chanko
- Your server will bring small mortar bowls with sesame seeds. Use the wooden pestle to grind them up to the coarseness you like.
- The chanko pot will have a small well of seasoning sauce in it. Once it’s hot, you can mix this as well as the broth itself into your bowl of sesame seeds. Season with shichimi pepper if you like it spicy!
- Save some broth for the very end if you’d like your server to convert it into a savory rice porridge.