Daikaya Izakaya are two restaurants under one roof in Chinatown DC. Daikaya the perfect laid back ramen house, and Izakaya the more exotic and mysterious restaurant (a great place to take a date). Hungry Lobbyist decided to go with the more exotic one and after sampling the menu we left incredibly satisfied.
Izakaya has a 90-seat capacity featuring various seating arrangements including a central bar and seats separated with dangling ropes. I would recommend booking a table with the dangling ropes, it certainly adds to the uniqueness of the night.
The style of the dishes are meant to be shared with a couple of main courses that are individual plates. I would recommend ordering a number of plates to share so pick someone who is willing to eat with you!
First up was the shaved kohlrabi with yuzu, wasabi tobiko and chives. It was a great dish to start with and wet the pallet. Very light but just enough to get your taste buds working.
The next dish was by far my favorite thing on the menu and the best avocado I have tried in my life (and that is a big statement to make). This grilled avocado comes with housemade ponzu, fresh wasabi and nori salt. Eating it was also an experience as the waiter told us the origins of each ingredient (fresh wasabi straight from Japan) and instructed us to gently spread the wasabi across the avocado and sprinkle the nori salt evenly. They even got us a special avocado spoon. Overall the journey of eating this simple dish wowed us. I might even make a trip back just for this special avocado.
After eating the avocado, the bar became pretty high and our next dish did not fail to impress. The grilled octopus with “Robu-chan” potatoes, pimenton and olive oil created fireworks in our mouth. The octopus was cooked perfectly and paired very well with the potatoes. Another dish I recommend for you.
As we were deciding what next to sample, the waiter asked us if we felt like being a bit more adventurous. Ofcourse, we said yes. 10 minutes later he came to us with a salmon head soaked in tamarind broth with seasonal vegetables. This dish has limited availability and will not be on the menu for long. Did this dish wow us as the others did? No. The process of eating it was definitely fun, as we looked for the fish meat to eat off the salmon head but the overall flavors of this dish were mild compared to the others.
Finally, we ended with two desserts (both customized to be gluten-free per my food restrictions). On the left of the picture below black sesame panna cotta and to the right the vanilla soft serve with avocado and lime sauce with toasted coconut. For the people who like a dessert that is not too sweet I would recommend going with the black sesame panna cotta. But either way you can not go wrong, both were delicious and a perfect way to end the night.
and go try that grilled avocado dish!!