Just as Spaniards head to a tapas bar for snacks and sherry, the Japanese go to an izakaya for little dishes of food and glasses of beer, sake or the spirit shochu. Gritty versions of these Japanese-style pubs have operated in the United States for years, but new gastro-izakayas are offering inspired Japanese small plates with multiculti twists.
Torafuku, a luxe chain with five plush locations in Japan, specializes in toasty kamado rice, which is made in a heavy stone cooker. Details 10914 W. Pico Blvd.; 310-470-0014 or torafuku-usa.com.
New York City
Izakaya Ten Chef Isamu Soumi turns out excellent small plates, like skewered chicken meatballs, to pair with sake from the playfully illustrated menu. Details 207 10th Ave.; 212-627-7777.