Daikaya Brings Japan to You
Daikaya Izakaya opened last week, just a few weeks after Daikaya Ramen Shop. Two restaurants in one space, Daikaya is a collaboration between Chef Katsuya Fukushima(Cafe Atlantico, Vidalia), Daisuke Utagawa (owner of Sushiko), and Yama Jewayni (co-founder of 18th Street Lounge). In Japan, an izakaya is a neighborhood spot that serves food and drink, where a banker and construction worker would dine side-by-side without a blink. Daisuke (above, with designer Brian Miller of Edit) tells us that housing multiple concepts in one building is a common setup in Tokyo. He and his partners wanted to bring "a slice of Japanese life" to DC, which is evident in everything from the menu structure to the decor.
The food-themed Japanese comics that adorn the wall ("Manga") are extremely popular in Japan, and the ropes that drape the Izakaya's booths are reminiscent of the fishing industry that supports so much of the country.As for the izakaya menu, Daisuke tells us that even though it's essentially small plates, this isn't "Japanese tapas." "We always eat this way, even at home: a few small dishes and some rice rather than one big dish." The semi-private booths are designed to entice guests to stay a while. Daisuke says the goal is for people to get started after work and stay til closing. The izakaya's kitchen will close by or before midnight depending on the night, but the bar will always stay open 'til last call.