Kita-Kyushu Sakaba
Nishi-Shinjuku: Japanese regional
Kita-Kyushu Sakaba (Nishi-Shinjuku: Japanese regional)
Kita-Kyushu Sakaba
Open 4-11:30pm daily.
Sun: Open Sundays

This lively after-work izakaya specializes in the cuisine of Kita-Kyushu, with an emphasis on seafood. It's a great place to try out interesting regional dishes like seared mackerel sashimi, mentaiko (spicy cod roe), and Yawate-tennabe gyoza (very tasty pork dumplings grilled in an iron pan) along with local sake and craft beer.

The assorted sashimi platter is usually a good place to start, and the platter here stands out for both its high quality and ample volume. Alternatively you can opt for platters of mackerel or sardines - both specialties of the house - prepared in various ways. Tataki-kyuri (smashed cucumber salad) arrives quickly and makes a nice crunchy counterpoint to the sashimi.

One unusual menu category is the selection of miso-stewed oden ingredients like daikon radish, beef tendon, ham cutlet, chikuwa fish cakes and so on. They're called "dobutaki" here, and they go well with either sake or shochu. There's also a big section of teppan-grilled seafood including fresh squid, clams and scallops grilled with butter and soy sauce.

The extensive menu includes plenty of meat dishes as well. We had some excellent, very tender lamb chops, well seasoned and perfectly grilled. There are numerous chicken dishes - many featuring local heirloom breeds of bird - as well as pork and beef dishes and horsemeat sashimi.

The drinks list includes a dozen or so Fukuoka sakes, including several from Kita-Kyushu. Other choices include bottled craft beers from local brewery Mojiko Beer, shochu, fruit liqueurs and fresh-fruit sours.

We were surprised to notice that there's a smoking section here - now a rarity among Tokyo izakayas - but fortunately ventilation is very good so it's not noticeable from the non-smoking seats. Budget around Y4,000 for dinner and drinks, which includes a small table charge.










Nishi-Shinjuku
Shinjuku-ku, Nishi-Shinjuku 7-11-18, 711 Bldg B1F.
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Venue listing from Bento.com4 Star Rating: recommended