Izaka-ya (2006)

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Izakaya restaurant located in downtown San Jose
Two things led me to this spot- okinamiyaki on the menu and it being an izakaya style restaurant.  One very telltale sign of a good izakaya restaurant, especially in San Jose, is the presence of at least one group of Japanese businessmen - this place had no Japanese or even Asian clientele.

Croquette is one of the staples in my ordering when I come into an izakaya.  This croquette was probably below average that what Ive eaten.  It had a very bland taste.  I wouldn't have been surprised if it was store bought.

Beef tongue
Beef tongue is another must order for me at an izakaya.  Too chewy and dry.  This skewer was both overcooked and bland.

Grilled oyster
When this dish came out it was not at all what I expected.  The oysters were huge.  I had a hard time taking a second bite of this.  The sauce was so disgusting.  It was a super sweet and thick teriyaki glaze that was so inappropriate for a delicate seafood like an oyster. 

Grilled nasu (eggplant)
Nasu (eggplant) is supposed to be lightly grilled with a slightly sweet miso glaze.  I love eggplant and this is another dish I always order when I see it on the menu.  When it came out it was the exact same teriyaki sauce they put on the oyster dish.  Terrible!  Not only was the sauce too sweet, but the eggplant wasn't cooked properly.  The eggplant in this dish is supposed to have a creamy, custard like consistency when you scoop it out.  Another dish I couldn't finish.

chicken meatball
Okay third dish that has this gross sauce.  I tried to wipe away some of the sauce so I could at least taste the meatball.  Again, very disappointing.  I think that it was frozen and pre-bought.

Beef tataki
Beef tataki should be a seared piece of meat.  You can tell from the it is extremely rare!  The rareness of the meat made it too chewy to swallow. 

I had hoped this dish would be the savior of the meal, but it was the biggest disappointment.  A perfectly cooked okinamiyaki should be fluffy inside but also a bread like consistent when you cut it open.  It should have a soft, runny texture in the middle.  Parts of this okinamiyaki tasted like an omelet and the the middle was too raw and doughey.  I took a couple bites of this dish and pushed it away.

Yaki onigiri - grilled rice ball
This is probably the only decent dish of the meal.  The outside was grilled but it was too salty on the outside, probably from too much soy sauce coating on the outside. 

Verdict:             I really wanted to like this place since I love izakayas and there are very few in the Bay Area.  The menu is quite extensive, but its a huge letdown.  Im not sure why people rave about this place.  Its probably some of the worst izakaya dishes Ive ever tasted.  Everything is either bland, too salty, over overshadowed by sauce.  I could tell the quality of ingrediants wasn't fresh and it catered to a more Americanized crowd.  Its a very sad representation of Japanese izakaya style dishes.

Address:          Izaka-ya
                         1335 N. 1st St
                         San Jose, CA 94511

Type:               Japanese, Izakaya

Chomp worthy:  Nothing

Pass:               everything

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