An Evening at Izakaya Den
If there is one thing about Denver that makes the city fabulous, it is the abundance of amazing restaurants. Denver’s vibrant food scene offers you your pick of any cuisine you can think of, and to top it off, the majority of restaurants proudly carry an array of local ingredients. One of our favorites in particular, Izakaya Den (on South Pearl Street,) is the perfect summer date-night spot. And the unveiling of a brand new menu means that this tried and true hotspot is new all over again.
To start off your meal, explore the cocktail menu. The Gion District, a combination of ginger vodka and fresh lemon juice, is the perfect balance of sweet and sour. For those that prefer a less sugary cocktail, the Delorian, subtle yet refreshing, is an excellent choice as well. If you’re up for another round of drinks, a bottle of sake should be next on the list. You can’t go wrong with the Wakatake Daiginio, a filtered sake with a perfectly crisp taste to complement your meal.
The summer menu has some beautiful options to choose from. Our first recommendation would have to be the crispy tuna – words can’t even describe the flavor! The spicy tuna is mixed with tempura fried rice and drizzled with eel sauce, all topped with avocado and jalapeno. You could honestly walk away from the table satisfied with just that. (But don’t be crazy! You have to order more.)
If you aren’t a spicy lover, the barbecue pork buns are a must. Two words: holy moly! These are delicious. They are the perfect portion for a light bite that’s heavy on flavor. Hint – they’re only on the happy hour menu.
Next up, you have to get into some sashimi. We love the yellow tail with the garlic ginger sauce, the wasabi tuna, and the jalapeño salmon sashimi. Working from left to right, the heat gets turned up with each bite. It’s the perfect palate cleanser after the crispy tuna and barbecue pork buns.
To finish off the meal, try the melon and Serrano ham salad. Topped with a sprinkling of basil and feta and a splash of honey lime vinaigrette, this dish has all the best summer flavors rolled into one.
Word to the Wise…Izakaya Den can be a hard spot to walk in and get a table, so always make a reservation. What’s more, you can’t miss out on having drinks on the rooftop patio. The ultimate place to see, be seen and indulge in all things summer. Cheers!
Bonus! Izakaya Den’s “Delorian” Cocktail Recipe
2 oz Spring 44 gin
.5 oz Ty-ku citrus
2 Basil sprigs
3 Cucumber wheel
1 oz lemon juice
.75 oz Simple Syrup
Slap basil. Add all ingredients, shake, add a basil sprig as a garnish in a rocks glass.
1487-A South Pearl St.
Denver, CO 80210
Photos by Elizabeth Montana and Adam Larkey