Sakagura Sunday

Izakayas are Japanese pubs. They are where business people head after work to drink beer, smoke cigarettes and eat hearty food – just like people do in pubs all over the world. But I have not really been to very many izakayas in New York. And now that I have been to this one, I may never visit another…

Sakagura is easy to miss – it is in the basement of an office building. It is also next to another Japanese restaurant with easier access, but if you bypass that one, go into the 80’s looking building next door, and descend some stairs, you enter into a large, casual room that looks like a Disney-fied version of Japan. 

We started with the Thinly Sliced Fluke Sashimi Topped with Grated Daikon Radish Dressed with a Citrus Vinaigrette .

So delicious! Not fishy or tendon-filled at all, just smooth, sweet petals of moist flesh surrounding slightly biting chives and tangy radish. Totally whetted the appetite.

Grilled Fillets of Cod Fish Steeped in Sweet Soy Sauce.

This cod was utterly sensational! Moist, mild and perfectly flaky, it was sweet and salty. All it cried for was a bowl of sticky sushi rice.

Grilled Japanese Eggplants Served with Three Kinds of Miso ( Egg Yolk, Spinach, and Sweet Red ) 

 If you think you have tried eggplant before and loved it, you are WRONG! I just have no other way to put it!! If you have not had Sakagura’s eggplant, you do NOT YET KNOW how much you can love eggplant! This is sweet, savory, tender but not mushy, and the skin is caramelized, crispy and not at all rubbery or papery. The different misos are sweet, smoky and salty but they all compliment the eggplant’s naturally unctuous texture and mild taste. Really…this will make an eggplant lover out of you.

Agedashi Tofu – 
 Tofu Coated in a Light Batter and Deep Fried Served in a Soy Sauce Infused Broth.

Agedashi Tofu is always battered and fried tofu served in a savory fish based broth. Is the tofu always perfectly hot without being molten? Is the coating always crisp and light? Is the broth always perfectly salty, savory and meaty? No. But here, that was all true. This tofu was light but incredibly flavorful. So delicious.

Shredded Beef Back Ribs Stewed in Miso Topped with Grated Dikon Radish

This was comfort food in every sense of the word. Deep, hearty, heady, not too spicy or salty, but with the bite of the radish adding some diversity to the rich and impossibly tender beef. This was something that anyone would love.
Unless you are vegetarian.

Hahahaha, like THOSE exist, right?!

Chicken Meat Balls with Teriyaki Sauce.

YUM!! Gingery, garlicky, sugary, salty meatballs that were so moist I would have sworn they were pork. The only difference was that they didn’t taste like pork – they tasted like that homey, familiar taste or roasted chicken and chicken fat…I could just eat a PILE of these.

Stewed Diced Pork – The Buta Kakuni.

You know how every parent secretly has a favorite child? Well, this is PUBLICLY my favorite child. A thick, sweet, velvety layer of fat gave way to tender, lean pork that shredded with a spoon and melted with a deeply umami taste on the tongue. It was in the porkiest broth imaginable – just the sweet, salty juices of the pork in a rich stock. I ate this whole thing.

Yes, I ate my favorite child.

And the prices here were VERY reasonable – very few dishes cost over $10. There is an EXPANSIVE sake list, a crew of helpful waiters and a chef who is out of my dreams. I will be heading back to Sakagura very soon for more of that pork, and you should go too!! Just go down the stairs to enter…Japan.
Sakagura on Urbanspoon


  1. This is some pretty awesome pub food. Way better than a burger and fries, I'll tell you that much!

  2. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Joanne-oh yes, especially that RIDICULOUS pork belly!!!

  3. Chubby Chinese Girl says:

    this is one of my most fav places!!!! love their desserts too… black sesame creme brulee… hmmm

  4. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Chubby Chinese Girl – omg i MUST try that…the only issue is if I can stop eating the pork long enough to save room for dessert… 😉